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.
The above mentioned study had a target group of 1400 senior patients, aged 79 and above, who didn’t have any mental issues. The experiment tested their sense of smell, by making them sniff different odors and giving them 4 choices to choose from. These different sources smelled like banana, turpentine, onion, paint thinner and gasoline.
The subjects were monitored over a 3.5 year period and the results were pretty amazing. 250 people from the study group showed some mild cognitive impairment development, usually connected with memory and judgement. But even mild, these impairments can lead to dementia or other mental issues. As much as 64 people of the 250 demonstrated Alzheimer’s symptoms.
The surprising fact was that the people with worse smell test results had 2.2 times higher chances to develop some form of cognitive impairment. This eventually led to the discovery that bad sense of smell is related to the risk of Alzheimer’s.
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.
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