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There is a connection between the sense of smell and dementia
Dementia can have various negative effects. Mental confusion, insomnia and mood swings are just a few examples. There also seems to be a connection between the sense of smell and the development of dementia. Researchers have now found that when people are unable to smell peppermint, this can indicate dementia.
The University of Chicago Medical Center researchers found that there is a link between dementia and the inability to perceive peppermint odor. The experts published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of the American Geriatrics Society".
Doctors examine 3,000 subjects
The results show how the sense of smell can affect memory loss in dementia, the researchers say. For their study, the doctors examined 3,000 people between the ages of 57 and 75. The scientists wanted to determine how the test subjects smelled different scents and whether there were differences between healthy participants and people with dementia. The subjects had to try to smell and identify five different scents: peppermint, fish, orange, rose and leather.
What were the results?
The results of the investigation were quite clear. Around 78 percent of the participants were able to correctly name at least four out of five fragrances. 14 percent of the test persons could only recognize three out of five fragrances. Five percent could only name two fragrances and two percent could identify only one of the fragrances. However, there was also one percent of all participants who could not determine one of the scents.
Problems with the sense of smell indicate dementia
After a period of five years, the researchers found that there appears to be a link between the inability to detect fragrances and the development of dementia. Almost all of the subjects who could not perceive any of the scents suffered from dementia. In addition, almost 80 percent of participants had dementia if they could only smell one or two of the scents.
The sense of smell is closely linked to human brain function
The results of the study show that the sense of smell is closely linked to brain function and health, explains the author Dr. Jayant M. Pinto. Changes in the sense of smell and also changes in sensory functions can be an important early sign of an increased risk of dementia, reports the expert.
Odor testing does not always have to be a tell-tale predictor of dementia
Despite the results, the scientists pointed out that people could lose their sense of smell for other reasons. Thus, an olfactory test does not necessarily have to be a tell-tale predictor of dementia, the doctors explain. Nevertheless, the findings of the study could help people with an increased risk of developing dementia to be better identified in the future.
Improved prevention possible?
The results of such a test can indicate which people are at increased risk of developing dementia, says Dr. However, further research is now necessary to develop a clinical test that can detect dementia reliably and early. The results of the current study could help to identify people at risk more quickly in the future, according to the scientists. (as)