Smelling Test Helps Diagnose Dementia

Smelling Test Helps Diagnose Dementia

A poor sense of smell could be a sign of dementia and non-detection of just five key odours could be enough to accurately predict the disease at an early stage.  This could be a vital tool in diagnosing and treating symptoms before they develop with lifestyle changes, such as increasing exercise, changing diets and keeping the brain active.

Those smells that were found to be particularly useful were:

  •          Peppermint
  •          Fish
  •          Orange
  •          Rose
  •          Leather

Peppermint was found to be the easiest to identify with the others on a scale of growing difficulty with leather being most problematic to detect. Scientists from the University of Chicago found the poorer the senses of smell, the greater likelihood of getting the disease, and even if only one or two of the odours are identified, there is a high chance that those people have the disease.

This information is taken from findings in 2014 where scientists used a ‘Sniffin’Stick’, an experimental tool that resembles a felt-tip pen and that is laced with various scents. People were asked to smell and recognise four different smells. Participants who could only identify two or three were labelled as ‘hyposmic’, with ‘anosmic’ people who could only detect one or none.

Professor Jayant Pinto, author of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, stated that ‘Loss of the sense of smell is a strong signal that something has gone wrong and significant damage has been done…Of all human senses smell is the most undervalued and underappreciated – until its gone.’

Extracts taken from: 30 September 2017

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