In a study involving more than 1,000 cognitively normal adults aged 60 and older, Joe Verghese, M.B.B.S., M.S., Emmeline Ayers, M.P.H., Nigel Kravatz, and colleagues found that older adults who have difficulty identifying odors are likely to transition soon from normal cognition to motoric cognitive risk syndrome (MCR). This syndrome, characterized by cognitive complaints and slow gait, is often a prelude to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The study participants were given the Brief Smell Identification Test, which assesses sense of smell. Over a period of about 4 years, the researchers identified MCR in 544 (48.6 percent) of the participants. Lower scores on the smell test at baseline were associated with an increased risk for MCR.
The findings, published online on September 8 in Neurology, suggest that testing for olfactory function could help physicians identify those cognitively normal older individuals who are at increased risk for developing MCR and, ultimately, dementia.
Dr. Verghese is chief of the integrated divisions of cognitive and motor aging and of geriatrics at Einstein and Montefiore. He also is the Murray D. Gross Memorial Faculty Scholar in Gerontology, director of the Resnick Gerontology Center, and professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology and of medicine at Einstein. Ms. Ayers is principal associate in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology at Einstein. Mr. Kravatz is a medical student in Dr. Verghese’s laboratory at Einstein.
Posted on: Wednesday, September 28, 2022