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Impaired sense of smell 'could be early indicator of Parkinson's'

Impaired sense of smell 'could be early indicator of Parkinson's'
26th March 2008

An impaired sense of smell could provide an early indicator of Parkinson's disease, it has emerged.

Researchers from the Pacific Health Research Institute in Honolulu have claimed that smell impairment can precede motor symptoms of the condition in men by up to four years.

Writing in the Annals of Neurology, study leader G Webster Ross said that individuals with the poorest sense of smell have a five times greater risk of developing Parkinson's than a person with a strong sense of smell.

The team concluded that an impaired sense of smell could begin between two and seven years prior to diagnosis of the condition, while research from previous studies suggest that there is a period of about five to seven years between the onset of nerve loss in an area of the brain affected by Parkinson's disease and diagnosis of the disease.

As a result testing people's sense of smell could work alongside other early indicators to provide a means of identifying who is at the highest rim of developing the condition.

This follows news that that therapeutic cloning has successfully treated Parkinson's disease within mice in the US.

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