Loss of smell grabbed attention during the pandemic as a symptom of COVID-19 infection. But it’s also one of the most important indicators of the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, according to emerging research. In February, residents of two Dallas senior living communities took a “smell test” to help advance that research.
Susan Bogan, a senior living consultant for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, visited The Legacy Midtown Park in Dallas and The Legacy Willow Bend in Plano to introduce the scratch-and-sniff test.
The test is available to everyone 60 and older in the U.S. without Parkinson’s disease and can be obtained by going here.
Residents at the two Legacy locations were asked to participate by taking a simple scratch-and-sniff test and uploading their results to be analyzed by clinical experts at the foundation. “As soon as I started talking about the research and the process, they lit up and responded with a ‘How can I help?’ Bogan said in a statement.
Loss of smell can happen years or even decades before a Parkinson’s diagnosis
According to Bogan, monitoring your sense of smell can give you vital information on your brain health as you age.
After people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, many report losing their sense of smell years or even decades earlier. Smell loss is a condition called hyposmia, which can also impact one’s sense of taste and, in some cases, can lead to weight loss.
Not everyone with smell loss will develop a brain disease, the foundation notes—so anyone who experiences the symptom may want to see their doctor to find out more about it.
However, according to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, 100% of major brain disorders are associated with smell loss. More facts from the foundation are visible in the graphic above.
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