Boston researchers suggest your sense of smell could be used to predict your risk of Alzheimer's.

Posted at 4:49 PM, Nov 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-16 16:49:44-05

One hundred eighty three older adults were recruited for this study at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

They were first given medical assessments and brain imagining to evaluate their cognitive functioning.

Participants then took part in a four-point test that included smelling 10 different common odors like lemon, mint and strawberry. 

Those who had trouble recalling these smells scored poorly and were found to have early signs associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Sense of smell varies from person to person and tends to decline as we age.

If you have a poor sense of smell, that doesn’t mean you’ll get Alzheimer's disease. There could be other reasons behind it, like chronic sinusitis.

I’d recommend you have it checked out by your family doctor.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia and the sixth leading cause of death.  To help keep your mind healthy, here are my prescriptions:

  1. Make Exercise a Priority. Studies show physical exercise may play a role in reducing the risk for Alzheimer's disease.
  2. Exercise Your Brain. Reading and crossword puzzles are forms of mental stimulation and may help to preserve the health of your brain.
  3. Protect Your Head. Wear a seat belt and use a helmet as there’s a strong link between serious head trauma and Alzheimer’s.
  4. Eat healthy. Studies have linked a diet rich in vegetables, like green leafy vegetables and broccoli, with a reduced rate of cognitive decline.

Question: Is there any way to prevent Alzheimer's disease?

Sadly, there is no proven way to prevent Alzheimer's disease.  And every 66 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops it. 

The strongest current evidence suggests that reducing your risk of heart disease may lower your risk of Alzheimer's disease. So best to keep physically, mentally and socially active.