SMELL & HEALTH

Olfactory dysfunction presenting as odor detection, discrimination and identification is a common finding in patients with early non vascular Parkinson’s disease.

As per a study of 2,267 men published in the Annals of Neurology, an impaired sense of smell could be an early indicator of Parkinson’s disease, occurring up to four years before motor skill problems appear.

In the study decreased odor identification was associated with older age, smoking, more coffee consumption, less frequent bowel movements, lower cognitive function and excessive daytime sleepiness, but even after adjusting for these factors, those with the lowest odor identification scores had a five time greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than those with the highest scores.

Nerve loss and the formation of Lewy bodies — abnormal clumps of proteins inside nerve cells that are thought to be a marker of the disease — are known to take place in the olfactory structures of patients with the disease.

An impaired sense of smell could also be caused by impaired sniffing, which may be another motor symptom of Parkinson’s.

Early indicators of Parkinson’s disease are olfactory abnormality, constipation and sleep disturbances.

Besides Parkinson’s disease, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, malnutrition, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Korsakoff’s psychosis are all accompanied or signaled by smell disorders.

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