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Smell test 'could reveal Alzheimer's'

5th July 2007

People in the early stages of developing cognitive impairments could experience deterioration in their sense of smell, claims a new study.

A trial of almost 600 older people found that the chances of respondents developing problems such as Alzheimer's disease were associated with a decline in odour identification ability, reports CBC.

The results prompted lead researcher Professor Robert Wilson to suggest that smell tests could become a method for detecting neurodegenerative disorders in the early stages of development.

Professor Wilson, who is head of neuropsychology at an Alzheimer's research centre in Chicago, noted: "There would likely be a variety of methods, a smell test in conjunction with others."

The expert added that early detection is particularly desirable as it would enable doctors to apply treatments as son as possible.

Privately held pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim recently announced that it is collaborating with scientists at Evotec and a Viennese research institute on its aim to develop new therapeutics for treating Alzheimer's disease.