Bad smell warning signs could ‘double’ your risk of dementia

ALZHEIMER’S is a serious condition for people with this condition and their families.

But experts have warned that there is one warning sign that could double your risk of the condition.

Various studies have shown a link between the sense of smell and the development of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.


Various studies have shown a link between the sense of smell and the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.Credit: Getty – Contributor

Alzheimer is a brain disease that causes memory loss, slow thinking skills and reasoning.

The disease progresses in several stages: preclinical, mild (sometimes called early stage), moderate, and severe (sometimes called late stage).

A long-term study of nearly 3,000 adults between the ages of 57 and 85 found that those who could not be identified were at least four out of five popular scents risk of developing the disease more than doubles within five years.

The five scents, in increasing order of difficulty, are mint, fish, orange, rose, and leather.

Most people, about 78%, can correctly identify at least four out of five scents but 14% can name only three, five percent can name two, two percent can name one and one percent can’t name any.

Five years later, almost everyone who could not identify any odors diagnosed with dementia.

And nearly 80% of those who could name only one or two scents also got sick.

Lead author of the 2017 study, Jayant Pinto, a professor of surgery at the University of Chicago, said: “These results suggest that the sense of smell is strongly linked to brain function and health.

“We think that exceptional olfactory abilities, but also sensory function, could be an important early marker that marks people in higher risk of dementia.

Dementia begins when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia – but not all dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.

Another study published in 2015 also looked at the link between odor and Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in clinically normal elderly people.

It found that in ‘clinically normal’ people, poorer odor identification was associated with signs of neurodegeneration.

This is the gradual loss of function of nerve cells, which is present in diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

What are the signs and symptoms of Alzheimers?

In the early stages of the disease, the signs can be subtle at first.

However, over time, they become more pronounced and begin to interfere with a person’s daily life.

Despite the common symptoms, each person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is unique and likely to develop the disease in a different way.

For the most part, however, the earliest signs are memory problems. Here are five you should pay attention to.

As the disease progresses, a person may:

  • lose common items including keys and glasses around the house
  • struggle to find the word they are looking for in the chat
  • forget recent conversations or events
  • getting lost in a familiar place or on a familiar journey
  • forgetting important anniversaries, birthdays or appointments

Although memory problems are the most common, there are other signs that a person may be struggling with dementia.

These include:

  • speech problems – a person may have trouble following a conversation or notice they often repeat themselves
  • problems judging distances, navigating stairs or parking
  • difficulty making decisions and solving problems
  • lost track of date or date

Research published on American Academy or Neurology and found that smell detection was associated with being able to detect preclinical Alzheimer’s in people with no other underlying medical conditions.

Over the past 18 months, the loss of taste and smell has largely been linked to the coronavirus.

In May 2020 if officially listed as one of the main symptoms of the virus.

A 2001 study actually found that people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease were just as likely to develop anosmia (loss of taste or smell) as other people.

Researchers have announced that patients with possible Lewy bodies are more likely to have deformities than those with Alzheimer’s disease or controls.

The NHS states that Lewy body dementia (DLB), also known as Lewy body dementia, is one of the most common types of dementia.

The guidelines state: “People with dementia with Lewy bodies may experience hallucinations – seeing, hearing or smelling things that are not there.”


While many studies have looked at the link between the sense of smell and dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association states that there is no single test that can diagnose the condition.

They say: “Physicians use a wide range of different tests; the strengths and weaknesses of the new tests need to be compared with existing methods to understand where improvement could be.”

A lack of sense of smell is usually a Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease and they get worse as the disease progresses.

Pinto added that the loss of the ability to smell can have adverse effects on people’s health and well-being.

He added: “Odor affects nutrition and mental health.

“People who can’t smell face everyday problems like knowing if food has spoiled, detecting smoke in the event of a fire, or assessing the need to shower after a workout.

“The inability to smell is strongly linked to depression because people don’t get much enjoyment out of life.”

First drug to help slow Alzheimer’s approved in US – giving hope to 500k Brits Bad smell warning signs could ‘double’ your risk of dementia

Fry Electronics Team

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