The Nose Knows

By L. Gordon

The nose knows – if you’re developing Parkinsons. If you’re male, anyway.

A study carried out in California on a pool of well over 2,000 men of Japanese descent and over the age of 80 found that those who scored poorly on a sniff test had a higher risk of developing Parkinsons down the line.

The study consisted of 2,264 men approaching 80 years old as of the mid-1990s. They were asked to smell and identify 12 odors: banana, chocolate, cinnamon, gasoline, lemon, onion, paint thinner, pineapple, rose, soap, smoke, and turpentine.

Within the next eight years, 35 of the men developed Parkinsons, and all performed poorly on the sniff test.

But if you’re having difficulty waking up and smelling the coffee, fear not. The study doesn’t provide any data regarding women, nor any explanation for what the correlation between smell and Parkinson’s might be. Nor does it provide any suggestion on how this interesting connection could be used. If stopping to smell the roses is becoming less satisfying, it could be part of normal aging. Then again, it might not be.

31. March 2008 by Ruth Folger Weiss
Categories: Aging, Long Term Care | Leave a comment