Poor Sense of Smell May Signal Alzheimer’s Risk


A person’s sense of smell may help predict their risk for Alzheimer’s Disease. Out of 183 older people 10 had possible or probable Alzheimer’s disease in a new study. Study volunteers were tested on their ability to recognize, remember and distinguish between odors. These odors included menthol, clove, leather, strawberry, lilac, pineapple, smoke ,soap, grape, or lemon. The study participants were then asked to complete another test of odors. The second test included 10 new odors in addition to those from the original test. These tests were developed at at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.The participants also underwent genetic, imaging and memory tests. Those with a reduced sense of smell seemed to be at increased risk of Alzheimer’s. “There is increasing evidence that the neurodegeneration behind Alzheimer’s disease starts at least ten years before the onset of memory symptoms” said principal investigator Dr. Mark Albers, “the development of a digitally enabled, affordable, accessible and non-invasive means to identify healthy individuals who are at risk is a critical step to developing therapies that slow down or halt Alzheimer’s disease progression” he added.


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