Smell test to pre­dict de­men­tia

It pro­vides a 5-year warn­ing

Daily Mirror - - NEWS - BY MARTIN BAGOT martin.bagot@mir­

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

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