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Chem Senses. 2011 Jan;36(1):63-7. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjq098. Epub 2010 Oct 5.

Odor identification and mortality in old age.

Author information

1
Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, Rush University Medical Center, 600 South Paulina Avenue, Suite 1038, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. rwilson@rush.edu

Abstract

The association of olfactory dysfunction with mortality was examined in 1162 older persons without dementia or Parkinson's disease. They completed a standard 12-item test of odor identification and then were followed for a mean of 4.2 years (standard deviation [SD] = 2.6, range: 0-9) during which 321 individuals died (27.6%). The relation of olfactory score to risk of death was assessed in a series of proportional hazards models adjusted for age, sex, education, and other covariates. Olfactory scores ranged from 0 to 12 correct (mean = 9.0, SD = 2.2). In an initial analysis, risk of death decreased by about 6% for each additional odor correctly identified (hazard ratio = 0.94; 95% confidence interval: 0.90, 0.98). Thus, mortality risk was about 36% higher with a low score (6, 10th percentile) compared with a high score (11, 90th percentile). The association persisted in subsequent analyses that controlled for naming ability, disability, cerebrovascular disease, characteristic patterns of leisure activity, depressive symptoms, and apolipoprotein E genotype. The results indicate that difficulty identifying familiar odors in old age is associated with increased risk of death.

PMID:
20923931
PMCID:
PMC3002399
DOI:
10.1093/chemse/bjq098
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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