Smell test to predict dementia
It provides a 5-year warning
A SNIFF test predicts whether someone will suffer dementia – five years before it is diagnosed.
Loss of smell was linked to a later diagnosis, a study found, and the worse the loss the bigger the risk.
Those who could not identify any of five smells on a series of “sniff sticks” were all confirmed as having the condition five years later.
Of those who named just one or two, 80% were found to suffer from dementia in follow-up checks five years later, in the study of 3,000 aged 57 to 85. Lead author Jayant Pinto of the University of Chicago, US said: “Loss of smell is a strong signal something is wrong. “This simple test could provide a quick and inexpensive way to identify those at risk.” In the test, 78% could name at least four of five smells: peppermint, fish, orange, rose and leather. Just 1% got none, 2% one, 5% got two, 14% three. Dr James Pickett of the Alzheimer’s Society said: “If your sense of smell changes, speak to your GP.”
ROSES Part of the test