Effects of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis on Driving Ability, Memory Functioning, Sustained Attention, and Quality of Life §



Monique A.J. Mets1, Edmund R. Volkerts1, Erwin A. Dunnebier2, 1, Lieke M. de Senerpont Domis1, Berend Olivier1, Joris C. Verster*, 1
1 Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Psychopharmacology, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80082, 3508 TB, Utrecht, the Netherlands
2 Utrecht Medical Center, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, PoBox 85500, 3508 GA, Utrecht, The Netherlands


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© 2008 Mets et al;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Psychopharmacology, Utrecht University, PO BOX 80082, 3508 TB, Utrecht, the Netherlands; Tel: +31 30 253 6909; Fax: +31 30 253 7900; E-mail: j.c.verster@uu.nl
§ Deceased. This paper is dedicated to her memory.


Abstract

Objective:

The objective of this study was to compare driving ability, memory, and psychomotor performance during grass pollen season with winter season in untreated patients with SAR.

Methods:

Patients with SAR were trained and tested during the grass pollen season (summer) and winter. An on-the-road driving test during normal traffic conditions was performed. Primary parameter is the Standard Deviation of Lateral Position (SDLP), i.e. the weaving of the car. In addition, a word learning test and continuous performance test were performed and quality of life was assessed. Patients were included if in winter the Total 5-Symptoms Score (T5SS) was < 3 and in summer the T5SS was > 3.

Results:

70 patients were recruited of which 22 started the study. Fifteen patients completed the study of which 11 met the inclusion criteria. These 11 patients had a mean T5SS of 6.8 in summer and 0.6 in winter. Patient reported a significantly reduced overall quality of life during grass pollen season (p<0.0001). No significant effects were found on the driving test, except a significant (but not relevant) decrease in mean speed during the grass pollen season (p<0.035). No significant effects were found on the word learning test and continuous performance test.

Conclusion:

Our data suggest that moderate SAR symptoms do not impair driving ability, memory functioning and continuous performance. However, given the small sample size future studies should confirm these findings.