Early warning sign of dementia that can be spotted while taking a shower

Dementia symptoms can vary from person to person, but memory loss and confusion are two well-known signs – however, there’s another early sign of the condition that could be spotted when taking a shower

One early sign of dementia could be noticeable in the shower(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

An early diagnosis of dementia can pave the way for future care and treatment, and recognising symptoms is crucial.

There’s currently no cure for dementia, but early medical intervention can help manage it better. Research indicates that over 944,000 people in the UK have dementia, a number expected to increase in the future. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, followed by vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia.




The NHS highlights that dementia symptoms may include memory loss, slower thinking speed, reduced mental sharpness and quickness, mood changes, and difficulties with daily activities. However, these aren’t the only signs – loss of smell could also be a warning sign.

According to research, this symptom could identify the condition in its early stages, possibly noticed when taking a shower. A study by the University of Chicago found that a significant decline in a person’s sense of smell might be an early sign of dementia.

This is because memory plays a crucial role in recognising scents. In the study, researchers analysed the sense of smell in 515 older adults, aiming to develop smell-test screening, similar to sight and hearing tests. The scientist suggest these tests could be useful in encouraging people to keep an eye out for potential warning signs, which could include decreased ability to smell your shampoo and shower gel when bathing.

Senior author Jayant M. Pinto, professor of surgery at the University of Chicago who studies olfactory and sinus disease, said: “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. We were able to show that the volume and shape of grey matter in olfactory and memory-associated areas of the brains of people with rapid decline in their sense of smell were smaller compared to people who had less severe olfactory decline.”

“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. We were able to show that the volume and shape of grey matter in olfactory and memory-associated areas of the brains of people with rapid decline in their sense of smell were smaller compared to people who had less severe olfactory decline.”

If you’re worried about your memory or thinking you may have dementia it’s a good idea to see your GP. If you’re worried about someone else’s symptoms, encourage them to make an appointment with a GP and perhaps suggest going with them.

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