Flopping a simple smell test as a senior could predict one’s approaching demise, a new study shows.
Thirty-nine percent of the subjects of the study, which was published on Wednesday, who failed the test died within just five years.
This was compared to the 19 percent among those with moderate smell loss and just 10 percent of those with a healthy sense of smell.
The study saw researchers from the University of Chicago asking the subjects, aged between 57 and 85 to name distinct odors, namely peppermint, fish, orange, rose, and leather.
“We think loss of the sense of smell is like the canary in the coal mine,” said the study’s lead author Jayant Pinto, an associate professor of surgery at the university. “Of all human senses, smell is the most undervalued and underappreciated until it’s gone.”
Professor Tim Jacob of Cardiff University, who was not involved in the research, has said, “This well-conducted study suggests the sense of smell is intimately linked to health and wellbeing.
Martha McClintock, a senior author of the study, said, “Obviously, people don’t die just because their olfactory system is damaged.”
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