Poor sense of smell linked to dementia

Around 900 community-dwelling adults aged 70–90 in the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study were assessed after two years’ follow-up, with 14% found to have developed MCI or dementia.

A poor sense of smell had a population attributable risk of MCI or dementia of 18%, and being male a risk of 31%. This compared with being married which had a population attributable protective effect of 25%.

Potentially modifiable population attributable risks for MCI and dementia included coronary artery disease, arthritis, stroke and high homocysteine, the researchers said. Men with diabetes or kidney disease were at lower risk of MCI and dementia.

PLoS ONE 2013; online 14 June