Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Poor smell sense could herald Alzheimer's

  • Comment
PROBLEMS identifying common odours may precede cognitive decline in older adults, a study has shown.

PROBLEMS identifying common odours may precede cognitive decline in older adults, a study has shown.

Researchers studied 589 older adults with an average age of 80 who did not have cognitive impairment in 1997 and asked them to conduct smell identification tests where 12 familiar smells were placed under their nose.

They had to match each smell to one of four possible alternatives and received a score from one to 12 based on the number of correct responses.

The test was repeated every year for five years and participants underwent an examination including a cognitive function test afterwards.

Over the course of the study, 177 people, 30% of the study group, developed some form of mild cognitive impairment.

Results showed people that scored below eight on the odour tests were 50% more likely to develop cognitive impairments and low scores were associated with rapid decline in episodic memory, semantic memory and perceptual speed.

Authors speculated that the onset of Alzheimer's may be heralded by 'tangles' developing in areas of the brain associated with processing smells.

Archives of General Psychiatry (2007) 64: 802-808

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs