Having A Strong Sense Of Smell Can Reduce The Risk Of Dementia In Older Adults

A study has found that loss of smell increased the risk of dementia in older adults. Know how dementia and olfactory senses are related.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Jul 24, 2020Updated at: Jul 24, 2020
Having A Strong Sense Of Smell Can Reduce The Risk Of Dementia In Older Adults

Most older people have this fear of losing their memory and not being able to recognize their loved ones. We see our grandparents losing their cognitive abilities with time but only a few experience memory loss. Is it possible to find if an older adult would suffer from dementia or not? It was not until now when a study came up with the findings that those having a strong-smelling power are not likely to get dementia. Find more details in this article.

Are dementia and olfactory senses related?

If an older adult can smell strong fragrances such as paint, thinner, turpentine, roses, lemons, etc., he/she is safe from dementia. This is what the research team of the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and the Weill Institute for Neurosciences has found. Their findings are published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. Besides, negative thinking is also associated with dementia.

The Research

The research team tracked more than 1,500 older adults in their 70s for a span of 10 years. This long study was conducted in order to find if sensory functions have any role to play in dementia development. All the participants were dementia-free at the start of the study, however, 18% of them developed dementia over time.

Also Read: About Dementia And Its Various Types

Willa Brenowitz, Ph.D., of the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Weill Institute for Neurosciences said: “Sensory impairments could be due to underlying neurodegeneration or the same disease processes as those affecting cognition, such as stroke. Alternatively, sensory impairments, particularly hearing and vision, may accelerate cognitive decline, either directly impacting cognition or indirectly by increasing social isolation, poor mobility, and adverse mental health.”

Also Read: Excessive Sleep May Increase The Risk Of Dementia

The researchers found that more than hearing, vision or touch, the smell is strongly associated with dementia. A 10% decline in the smell sense increased the risk of dementia by 19%. During the extensive 10-year research, the participants underwent cognitive testing every year. Participants who remained dementia-free showed no sensory impairments.

This research shows that the better sensory functions one has, the lesser is the risk of dementia.

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