The authors of this study tested the predictive utility of baseline odor identification deficits for future cognitive decline and the diagnosis of Alzheimer disease dementia. 1,037 participants without dementia were evaluated with the 40-item University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT). In 757 participants, follow-up occurred at 2 years and 4 years.
The results showed that impairment in odor identification was superior to deficits in verbal episodic memory in predicting cognitive decline in cognitively intact participants. The findings support the cross-cultural use of a relatively inexpensive odor identification test as an early biomarker of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease dementia. Such testing may have the potential to select/stratify patients in treatment trials of cognitively impaired patients or prevention trials in cognitively intact individuals.
Devanand DP, Lee S, Manly J, Andrews H, Schupf N, Doty RL, Stern Y, Zahodne LB, Louis ED, Mayeux R: Olfactory deficits predict cognitive decline and Alzheimer dementia in an urban community. Neurology [Epub ahead of print December 3, 2014; pii: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001132 ].

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