A remarkable new study claims that an inability to smell peppermint could be a major indicator of the early onset of the disease.
In what could be a huge new development in the quest to find a way to spot dementia and Alzheimer’s disease early, scientists have determined that the inability to detect certain smells, like peppermint for example, could be an early marker of the disease. The findings, which were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, is based on a smell test that was administered to 3,000 participants without dementia or Alzheimer’s between the ages of 57 and 85.
Scientists asked the participants, who were both men and women, to identify certain “Sniffin Sticks” that were infused with scents ranging from peppermint to oranges to leather. About three quarters of those who participated were able to detect the scents normally, but 18.7 percent were only able to identify two or three of the five that were provided to them.
Amazingly, researchers found that nearly all of the patients who fell into this group had dementia five years later. It’s an exciting development that could help doctors spot dementia early, and therefore give them more options to treat it before it becomes severe.
“A long-term study of nearly 3,000 adults, aged 57 to 85, found that those who could not identify at least four out of five common odors were more than twice as likely as those with a normal sense of smell to develop dementia within five years,” reads the statement from the University of Chicago Medical Center. “Although 78 percent of those tested were normal – correctly identifying at least four out of five scents – about 14 percent could name just three out of five, five percent could identify only two scents, two percent could name just one, and one percent of the study subjects were not able to identify a single smell.”