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Chem Senses. 2016 May;41(4):293-9. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjv088. Epub 2016 Jan 24.

Olfactory Dysfunction in Older Adults is Associated with Feelings of Depression and Loneliness.

Author information

1
Scripps Mercy Hospital, 4077 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103, USA.
2
Department of Public Health Sciences, The University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
3
Section of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, The University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Ave MC 1035, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
4
Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, Rush University Medical Center, 600 S. Paulina St., Chicago, IL 60612, USA and.
5
Section of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, The University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Ave MC 1035, Chicago, IL 60637, USA, Center on the Demography and Economics of Aging, The University of Chicago, 1155 E. 60th Street, Suite 341, Chicago, IL 60637, USA jpinto@surgery.bsd.uchicago.edu.

Abstract

Olfactory dysfunction is a common complaint among physician visits. Olfactory loss affects quality of life and impairs function and activities of daily living. The purpose of our study was to assess the degree of odor identification associated with mental health. Olfactory function was measured using the brief smell identification test. Depressive symptoms were measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale. Loneliness was assessed by the de Jong-Gierveld Loneliness Scale. Cognition was measured by a battery of 19 cognitive tests. The frequency of olfactory dysfunction in our study was ~40%. Older subjects had worse olfactory performance, as previously found. More loneliness was associated with worse odor identification. Similarly, symptoms of depression were associated with worse olfaction (among men). Although better global cognitive function was strongly associated with better odor identification, after controlling for multiple factors, the associations with depression and loneliness were unchanged. Clinicians should assess these mental health conditions when treating older patients who present with olfactory deficits.

KEYWORDS:

cognition; demographics; demography; depression; loneliness; olfaction; retirement communities; retirement homes

PMID:
26809485
PMCID:
PMC5006107
DOI:
10.1093/chemse/bjv088
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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