Aug 17, 2019 | Updated: 07:24 AM EDT

Scent Of Death: Fading Sense Of Smell May Suggest Early Death

Mar 24, 2017 01:44 AM EDT

An elderly woman holds a picture of a sheep as she try to remenber the name of the animal during a memory activity at the Cuidem La Memoria elderly home, which specializes in Alzheimer patients on August 2, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.
(Photo : Getty Images/David Ramos)

A recent study has stated that people losing their sense of smell might be facing the risk of dying early. Previously, a number of researchers have claimed a link between fading sense of smell and Alzheimer's disease, but this is the first time that it has linked with a chance of death in people.

According to the Telegraph, a research team from the Stockholm University in Sweden observed 1774 people in the age group of 40-90 years for 10 long years. To start with, they were told to identify 13 different smells, whose scores were related by the scientists to their chance of death. Their chance of living decreased by 8 percent with every wrong answer they gave. The scientists said that the results were solely dependent on the smelling ability of the observed people and not explained by its link with dementia.

A previous research led to the determination of Alzheimer's in a person by the ability of him to smell a peanut. People who needed the peanut to be closer than 6 cm to the left nostril to smell it than the right one were all diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Another study by the Harvard University predicted that people having much difficulty identifying 10 common smells such as lemon, mint, and strawberry are prone to Alzheimer's disease.

According to WebMD, at least 7 out of 10 elderly people have a diminished sense of smell in comparison to 15 percent or less among younger people. This condition is medically termed as "anosmia". The study has been praised by scholars from various universities, who have termed it to be very well-designed.

However, there are many reasons that the researchers think might be related to smell loss, such as injuries, infections or medications. Flavors are also determined by smell, so things can be predicted to be ok if the food tastes good. Researchers opine that "Smell training" can help to improve this situation at times. It is initiated by smelling odors twice a day, which can improve the sense of smelling over time.

The study says that just like physical exercises energize the body, the brain can also be regulated through social and mental activities. The study linking fading sense of smell to early death was published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society on March 22.

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