That decreased sense of smell a person over time can’t just predict that loss of cognitive function. Its rapid decline – a sudden loss of smell – may be an indicator of structural changes in brain regions important to the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia in general.
This is the main conclusion of research led by the University of Chicago Medicine. This offers “another clue“How a rapid decline in the sense of smell is a ‘really good’ indicator of what’s going to happen structurally in certain regions of the brain,” summarizes Jayant M. Pinto, one of its authors. It was published in , based on a follow-up study of 515 older adults Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.
That memory plays a fundamental role in human ability recognize smells and the scientific community has long known the relationship between the sense of smell and dementia, recalls a University of Chicago statement collected by the EFE Agency.
[¿Notas que has perdido el gusto? Ésta es la clave para recuperarlo según los expertos]
That Protein plates and tangles that characterize the tissues affected by Alzheimer’s usually appear in the olfactory areas of the brain and those associated with memory before it develops in other parts of that organ. However, it is still unknown whether this damage is the cause of a person’s decreased sense of smell.
Pinto and his team wanted to see if identification was possible changes in the brain correlates with a person’s loss of smell and cognitive function over time.
“Our idea was that people with a sense of smell that declined rapidly over time would be in worse shape – and more likely to have brain problems and even Alzheimer’s itself – than those who did slowly decreased or held a normal sense of smell‘ Rachel Pacyna elaborates.
The team used anonymous patient data from the Memory and Aging Project from Rush University, began research into chronic aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s in 1997.
undergo patients annual exams to test your ability to recognize certain smells, your cognitive function or signs of dementia. Some also had an MRI.
In their observations, the scientists found that a rapid decline in a person’s sense of smell during a period of normal perception predicts several characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease, including a decreased gray matter volume in brain areas related to smell and memory, poorer cognition and increased risk of dementia.
In fact, the risk of losing the sense of smell was similar to that of being a carrier of the APOE-e4 genea known genetic risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s. The changes were most evident in the primary olfactory regions, including the amygdala and entorhinal cortexwhich is an important input for the hippocampusa critical site for the development of Alzheimer’s.
“We were able to show that the volume and shape of the gray matter in the olfactory and memory-related areas was smaller in people with rapid olfactory decline than in those with less severe olfactory loss,” summarizes Pinto. According to the researcher, this study “must be viewed in the context of all known risk factors for Alzheimer’s, including the effects of diet and exercise“.
“The sense of smell and its changes must be an important component related to a number of factors that we believe influence the brain in relation to health and aging.” For Pacyna if you could identify that People in their 40s, 50s and 60s who are most at risk earlyyou may have enough information to enter clinical trials and develop better medicines.
However, the scientists concede some limitations of the study, such as the fact that the participants only had one MRI and therefore lacked data to determine exactly when the structural changes in the brain began or how quickly the brain regions shrank.