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The end of life is near: loss of smell in middle age is an indication of timely death

The end of life is near: loss of smell in middle age is an indication of timely death



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Medical professionals are studying the effects of odor loss on life expectancy
Does the loss of our sense of smell affect our life expectancy? Researchers have now found that when people lose their sense of smell in middle or upper age, this indicates an early point in time of death.

Stockholm University researchers found that loss of sense of smell may indicate premature death. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of the American Geriatrics Society".

Decreased sense of smell can indicate premature death
Although previous research has already shown a connection between Alzheimer's disease and a reduced sense of smell, it has now been demonstrated for the first time that this effect also influences the likelihood of premature death, the authors explain

Scientists examine 1,774 subjects for their study
For their investigation, the scientists from Stockholm University monitored 1,774 Swedish subjects between the ages of 40 and 90 for a period of ten years. At the beginning of the study, the participants were asked to take a test in which they had to identify 13 different smells. In their study, the researchers found that the likelihood of premature death was related to how well they did in the test. Any wrong answer led to an eight percent increase in the risk of dying during the study, experts say. The results of the study showed that the sense of smell is an important indicator of the health of the aging human brain. A total of 411 of the participants died during the investigation.

The loss of olfactory functions is associated with a 19 percent increased risk of death
Our results were not explained by dementia, the scientists say. This disease has often been associated with loss of smell. Instead, the risk of mortality from loss of odor was clearly predicted, explains the author Dr. Jonas Olofsson. After considering the demographic, health background and brain function, the doctors found that the loss of sense of smell leads to a 19 percent higher risk of premature death in people compared to normal smelling people.

Sense of smell and connections with Alzheimer's
A previous study from the University of Florida found that diagnosis of Alzheimer's is made possible by medical professionals testing how close a subject must be to a peanut to smell it. If such people had to hold the nut at least six cm or closer to the left nostril than was necessary for the right nostril, this was associated with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's. A Harvard University study previously found that people with Alzheimer's had trouble identifying ten completely normal smells. These smells included, for example, lemon, mint and strawberry.

Temporary loss of smell should not cause panic
In our future research, we will try to determine the biological processes that could explain this phenomenon, the experts explain. The results found contribute to the fact that the assessment of the olfactory function could provide insights into the aging processes of the brain. If people temporarily lose their sense of smell, they shouldn't panic immediately. The condition can also be the result of other conditions, such as sinusitis, the scientists add. (as)

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