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Losing the ability to smell peppermint, fish, orange, rose and leather could be an accurate early warning sign of dementia, according to a new study.
The ability of nearly 3,000 people aged 57 to 85 to detect these five odours was tested by scientists.
When they returned about five years later, almost all of the people who had not been able to name a single one of the five scents had dementia, as did nearly 80 per cent of those who gave only one or two correct answers.
In the study, 78 per cent of those tested had a normal sense of smell, correctly identifying either four or five of the odours.
Nearly 19 per cent got two or three out of five correct, while 2.2 per cent could only identify one and one per cent were unable to tell what any of the scents were.
“These results show that the sense of smell is closely connected with brain function and health,” Professor Pinto said.
“We think smell ability specifically, but also sensory function more broadly, may be an important early sign, marking people at greater risk for dementia.
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