Researchers: Smell test may help diagnose Alzheimer's

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Giving residents with mild mental impairment a 10-item smell test may help determine whether they are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, researchers say.

"Problems with identifying common smells can  be an effective early marker of the diseases," said Dr. Matthias H. Tabert of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York.
 
Tabert and colleagues tested more than 300 people to narrow down identifiers from the 40-item University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT). They wound up with a 10-item test that was just as effective and could be completed in less than five minutes. A report on their findings was published in the Annals of Neurology.
 
The shorter test featured scents of: strawberry, lilac, menthol, leather, pineapple, soap, natural gas, clove, lemon and smoke. Further checks showed that poor identification of the 10 odors was consistently associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease, researchers said.