Alzheimer’s: Can you smell it? Smell factor doubles risk of cognitive decline

An estimated 55 million people are living with dementia, only a quarter of whom are officially diagnosed. This disease – characterized by a slow onset of symptoms – has been studied extensively, but no cure has yet been found. However, in their research, scientists have made great strides to identify the early signs of the disease. A line of research confirms that early clues may arise in the nose.

There is growing evidence that a poor sense of smell may be linked to memory decline in later life.

The original research stems from a 2016 study, published in the journal Annals of Neurology, that found that people who had trouble identifying scents like menthol, strawberry, and lemon seemed to be at increased risk. higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

“When someone can’t distinguish between different smells, it can be a signal for people,” says Dr. Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at New York’s Weill Cornell Presbyterian Medical Center. see latent Alzheimer’s disease.”

In the same study published in the American Geriatric Association, researchers followed a sample of 3,000 cognitively normal older adults.

READ MORE: Dementia cases set to ‘nearly triple by 2050’ if four risk factors are not addressed

All participants underwent a simple odor test to identify those at higher risk of dementia.

The team found that participants who failed to identify four out of five odors were twice as likely to develop dementia five years later.

Furthermore, the degree of olfactory deficits correlated with the severity of dementia that occurred.

Results showed that 4.1% of participants developed dementia within 5 years, 47% of whom had olfactory dysfunction at initial assessment.


“These results suggest that the sense of smell is strongly linked to brain function and health,” said otolaryngologist Professor Pinto.

He added that the loss of smell could be a sign of “significant damage”.

Testing can provide a rapid approach to identifying individuals at risk for the disease.

Along with Alzheimer’s disease, a poor sense of smell is also associated with higher rates of death and Parkinson’s.

However, the reason for this association remains unclear.

However, according to Harvard Health, the loss of smell is most likely an early sign that the disease is contracted.

Alternatively, it could signal that there is a problem with the part of the nervous system responsible for the sense of smell.

“If you notice a major change in your sense of smell, tell your doctor at your next visit,” the health body said.

Although research suggests that loss of smell may increase the risk of impairment, other research has produced conflicting findings.

An analysis of 1,430 people found that 76% of those with anosmia had normal cognitive function at the end of the study.

Treating Alzheimer’s Researchers have focused much of their efforts on developing a drug that slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

To date, the drug Aducanumab is the first drug in 20 years to be approved in the US. Although the drug holds promise for slowing mental deterioration, its usefulness is still widely debated by scientists.

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