Britons to check for warning sign at meal times that could indicate dementia

Getting early warning signs checked could help with the treatment of dementia.

Britons should look out for a symptom that may be most apparent when eating or drinking, according to a new study.


Research from the University of Chicago analysed 515 older adults and saw key findings in their sense of smell.

A declining sense of smell can predict the loss of cognitive function, the study suggested.

Smell is a big part of eating or drinking a cup of coffee

PA

More specifically, a loss of smell can indicate structural changes in the regions of the brain relating to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Sense of smell is a key part of eating a meal or enjoying a cup of coffee, so Britons should look out for this warning sign.

“This study provides another clue to how a rapid decline in the sense of smell is a really good indicator of what’s going to end up structurally occurring in specific regions of the brain,” senior author and professor of surgery at the University of Chicago who studies olfactory and sinus disease Jayant M. Pinto said.

Experts added memory is key in recognising smells, so a failure to do this could indicate dementia.

Medical student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and lead author of the study Rachel Pacyna added: “Our idea was that people with a rapidly declining sense of smell over time would be in worse shape – and more likely to have brain problems and even Alzheimer’s itself – than people who were slowly declining or maintaining a normal sense of smell.”

The research could lead to smell-test screening as a way of spotting cognitive issues earlier.

Woman eating drinking

Britons should seek medical advice if they experience symptoms

GETTY

Pacyna added: “If we could identify people in their 40s, 50s and 60s who are at higher risk early on, we could potentially have enough information to enrol them into clinical trials and develop better medications.”

Pinto commented: “Sense of smell and change in the sense of smell should be one important component in the context of an array of factors that we believe affect the brain in health and ageing.”

This comes as a study suggested Britons who wake up during the night are more at risk of dementia.

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