Researchers have discovered a new sign of possible upcoming dementia in a sense of smell, according to The New York Times in "Poor Sense of Smell May Signal Dementia."
Early diagnosis of dementia allows professionals to develop treatment plans that will slow dementia's progress. It also lets people who have the disease to make end of life plans, such as advanced medical directives and estate plans, before they become unable to do so.
In a study of women, subjects were asked to identify five distinct smells, including leather, fish and roses. How they performed at identifying the smells, was found to correlate with whether they later got dementia.
That does not mean that everyone with a poor sense of smell will get dementia.
What it means is that smell is a cognitive function. Therefore, when a person begins to lose the sense of smell, it indicates declining cognitive functions and the possibility of very early dementia.
How this research can be applied in the field is not certain, but could be another step in early detection.
Reference: New York Times (Oct. 3, 2017) "Poor Sense of Smell May Signal Dementia."