Nature Publishing Group
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Medical Sciences / Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer's Disease Research and Care
The presence of olfactory dysfunction in individuals at higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease has signiﬁcant diagnostic and screening implications for preventive and ameliorative drug trials. Olfactory threshold, discrimination and identiﬁcation can be reliably recorded in the early stages of neurodegenerative diseases. The current study has examined the ability of various olfactory functions in predicting cognitive decline in a community-dwelling sample. A group of 308 participants, aged 46–86 years old, were recruited for this study. After 3 years of follow-up, participants were divided into cognitively declined and non-declined groups based on their performance on a neuropsychological battery. Assessment of olfactory functions using the Snifﬁn’ Sticks battery indicated that, contrary to previous ﬁndings, olfactory discrimination, but not olfactory identiﬁcation, signiﬁcantly predicted subsequent cognitive decline (odds ratio¼0.869; Po0.05; 95% conﬁdence interval¼0.7640.988). The current study ﬁndings conﬁrm previously reported associations between olfactory and cognitive functions, and indicate that impairment in olfactory discrimination can predict future cognitive decline. These ﬁndings further our current understanding of the association between cognition and olfaction, and support olfactory assessment in screening those at higher risk of dementia.
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