Yuck! What's that smell? Well, according to some researchers, your ability to answer that question may predict your chances of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Many research studies over the last 20 years have demonstrated a connection between an inability to detect odors and a decline in cognition. Several of those studies also demonstrated a predictive relationship where a poor sense of smell in people who did not have dementia predicted an increased likelihood of those same individuals developing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease over time.
For example, one study involved 308 adults ages 46-86 without cognitive impairment who were studied over the course of three years. Researchers found that a decreased ability to discriminate between odors was strongly correlated with an increased risk for the development of cognitive decline.
Researchers have also looked at mild cognitive impairment.