According to a new study, published in JAMA Neurology, loss of smell is linked to early dementia. The authors of the study use the so-called “Peanut Butter Test” in order to see a change in our way of recognizing different odors could be caused by an early onset of dementia.
In order to put everyone’s nose to the test, Rosebud Roberts and his team of researchers, called for volunteers. They established a test series of approximately 1400 individuals. The average age of the test group was 79.5 years and the study has been conducted from 2004 to 2014.
In this test, the candidates were asked to recognize six different odors. A couple of them were related to food, while the other were non-food related items. Patients would have to differentiate several items, such as gasoline, lemon, paint thinner, lemon, onion, banana, chocolate, cinnamon, turpentine, pineapple, soap and rose.
By the end of the trial, approximately 250 patients showed symptoms associated with mild cognitive impairment.
MCI or mild cognitive impairment, is considered to be an intermediary stage between normal cognitive functionality and dementia. People who are diagnosed with MCI have symptoms mainly associated with memory loss. Language and judgment impairment are also other symptoms that point towards MCI.
On its own, MCI can be commonly mistaken with old age, however, it has been demonstrated that patients who exhibit MCI symptoms are at greater risk of developing grave forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
MCI symptoms related to memory, language and judgment impairment have a certain specificity. It’s one thing to lose your case keys, once in a while, but if you lose them each day, you might want to check with your doctor. Also, it would be a good idea to seek a consultation if think you become more impulsive, more judgmental with those around you or if you have trouble following a plot line or a conversation.
Being unable to find your bearings can also be construed as a sing of MCI. So, if you do encounter issues in finding your way around the house, do go and get a consultation.
People diagnosed with MCI have come down with more acute cognitive symptoms such as depression, anxiety, apathy and irritability.
No one knows for sure what causes MCI, but a couple of autopsies conducted on patients with this disease reveled a couple of subtle changes in brain chemistry.