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Science News

Loss of Smell Can Signal Parkinsonís

Sense of smell is something we take for granted. But new research shows that losing your ability to smell could be a sign of a serious illness.

The research suggests that losing your sense of smell could signal an increased risk for Parkinson's disease.

Researchers from Hawaii studied more than 2,200 men who'd been given an odor identification test. In the test, participants had to smell different scents such as lemon, natural gas, and soap and be able to properly identify them.

Results showed that people who performed worst on the test were 5 times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than those who had the best scores. What's more, sense of smell often seemed to disappear as much as four years before the more common signs of Parkinson's, such as tremors and difficulty walking.

Previous research has found that a decrease in sense of smell may sometimes precede Alzheimer's disease as well, suggesting that it may be an early warning sign of general brain cell deterioration.

Experts recommend that people who experience a sudden and unexplained loss of smell should discuss it with their doctors right away.

The study was published in the Annals of Neurology by researchers from the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System and the Pacific Health Research Institute in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Copyright 2008 Clear Channel Broadcasting. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Source Date: Mar 21 2008
Source Publication: ABC News
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