A recent study has suggested that losing the ability to smell things like orange, rose, peppermint, fish and leather could be an early sign of developing dementia.
In order to reach their findings, the researchers evaluated nearly 3,000 people aged 57 to 85 and tested their ability to detect these five odours. The researchers followed the participants for at least five years and found out that almost all of the people who could not be able to detect a single one of those five scents had developed dementia.
They also observed that 80 percent of those participants who just gave one or two correct answers when it came to detecting the smell hd developed dementia too.
However, some experts have refuted the findings of the study stating that there could be other preseasons why people could lose their sense of smell. One expert wrote that the study did not support the idea that “smell testing would be a useful tool for predicting the onset of dementia”.
Commenting on the findings, one of the researchers of the study, professor Jayant Pinto, of Chicago University, said: “Loss of the sense of smell is a strong signal that something has gone wrong and significant damage has been done.This simple smell test could provide a quick and inexpensive way to identify those who are already at high risk.”
“Of all human senses, smell is the most undervalued and under-appreciated – until it’s gone.”
“Our test simply marks someone for closer attention. Much more work would need to be done to make it a clinical test. But it could help find people who are at risk. Then we could enrol them in early-stage prevention trials,” Professor Pinto added.
The findings of the study were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.