THE LINK BETWEEN LOSS OF SMELL AND MEMORY LOSS
Several research studies are now showing there is a link between the loss of smell and Alzheimer’s disease.Â For example, a three-year study at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota involving 1,430 volunteers averaging 79 years-old were asked to identify 12 scents, 6 being food related such as cinnamon and banana, whereas the other 6 non-food related items included flower petals, soaps, gasoline, etc.
After three and a half years, researchers found that 250 volunteers were manifesting mild cognitive impairment symptoms. 20% of them who had scored lower on the smell test were pronounced with Dementia and another 22% who scored the very worst on the smell test had Alzheimer’s.
Another test was done posted by the Association for Chemoreception Sciences where they did a smell test experiment starting by putting a little peanut butter at the end of a ruler, measuring the distance from the nostril where patients were first able to detect the odor.Â Interestingly, patients who detected the odor at least 6 cm worse with the left nostril than with the right nostril were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Finally, we are making headway in this area while we try to figure out ways to diagnose and prevent while still attempting to find cures. What does this mean to the aging baby boomers out there? Well, it’s good and bad. Unfortunately, it means if you are getting Dementia or Alzheimer’s, we can now find out which may not seem like very good news to you if it’s you who’s getting it. However, it also means that, when caught earlier rather than later, you can get treated to slow down the process through the use of drugs.
Just think of a stroke as a paradigm. If you knew what your cerebrovascular conditions were in advance, you could avoid having a stroke all together through a combination of medication, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eating healthier, and other therapeutic options.
So, if you find you or a loved one is at the early onset stages of Dementia or Alzheimer’s, there is quite a bit you can do to extend the time you still have good brain function and prolong the time before you start experiencing serious memory loss, lack of coordination, lack of your ability to perform day-to-day functions and all else that goes with it. Check with your doctor to find out more about the Smell Test, as well as your options after the fact.