Yes, you’ll be shocked when we tell you that losing your sense of smell could be an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease! A recent study has discovered this. Just take a look at the article below and find out more about this discovered. According to this study, published in JAMA Neurology, the experts have discovered that older people who had worse senses of smell were more likely to have mental difficulties which progressed to Alzheimer’s disease. You should also know that the study’s findings suggest that sense of smell could be used to help screen for cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and possibly other forms of dementia.
Well, the experts said that this study looked at 1,400 seniors with an average age of 79 and normal mental functioning, and they conducted intermittent smell tests on the participants, in which they had to scratch and sniff different odors and choose the correct answer from four options. The smells included both food and non-food odors, including banana, turpentine, onion, gasoline, and paint thinner. And, after a follow-up period of 3.5 years, 250 people developed mild cognitive impairment. Mild cognitive impairment is an early stage of mental decline which can involve problems with memory and judgement. While it does not significantly affect day-to-day life, it can lead to dementia and declining mental health. Out of the participants with mild cognitive impairment, another 64 went on to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
And, unfortunately, the experts also discovered that people with worse scores on the smell test were 2.2 times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment. As well, there was a correlation between bad test scores and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Note: improvement in smell test scores was linked to an improvement in the severity of dementia.
Rosebud Roberts, lead researcher on the study and a professor of neurology at Mayo Clinic, said:
“The findings suggest that doing a smell test may help identify elderly, mentally normal people who are likely to progress to develop memory problems or, if they have these problems, to progress to Alzheimer’s dementia,”.
Well, he also thinks that smell tests could be a standard screening tool for elderly patients. Poor scores on the test could be the first signs of mild cognitive impairment, which could lead to Alzheimer’s disease. As well, for patients who already have cognitive decline, the smell test could help predict whether they are likely to progress to Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. Well, you should also know that the experts think that the study’s findings may be due to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affecting the parts of the brain which distinguish smells. These parts of the brain may be the first to deteriorate with dementia.
Rosebud Roberts, lead researcher on the study and a professor of neurology at Mayo Clinic, warns that people may score low on the smell test for other reasons, including chronic sinus and respiratory conditions. Note: you should also know that this study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. Further research will have to be done on the link between declining sense of smell and developing dementia. According to the latest statistics, unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. About 10 to 25% of seniors are estimated to have mild cognitive impairment. We really hope you find this article helpful and don’t forget to share it with your friends and family. Thank you and have a good one!