Document Type

Journal Article


Nature Publishing Group


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Medical Sciences / Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer's Disease Research and Care




This article was originally published as: Sohrabi, H. R., Bates, K. A., Weinborn, M. , Johnston, A., Bahramian, A., Taddei, K. , Laws, S. , Rodrigues, M. A., Morici, M. , Howard, M. T., Martins, G. S., Mackay-Sim, A., Gandy, S., & Martins, R. N. (2012). Olfactory discrimination predicts cognitive decline amongst community-dwelling older adults. Translational Psychiatry , 2, art. no. e118 . Original article available here


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.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.