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Smell and eye tests show potential to detect Alzheimer's early
Date:7/13/2014

function, and amyloid deposition in 215 clinically normal elderly individuals enrolled in the Harvard Aging Brain Study at the Massachusetts General Hospital. The researchers administered the 40-item University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT) and a comprehensive battery of cognitive tests. They also measured the size of two brain structures deep in the temporal lobes the entorhinal cortex and the hippocampus (which are important for memory) and amyloid deposits in the brain.

At AAIC 2014, Growdon reported that, in this study population, a smaller hippocampus and a thinner entorhinal cortex were associated with worse smell identification and worse memory. The scientists also found that, in a subgroup of study participants with elevated levels of amyloid in their brain, greater brain cell death, as indicated by a thinner entorhinal cortex, was significantly associated with worse olfactory function after adjusting for variables including age, gender, and an estimate of cognitive reserve.

"Our research suggests that there may be a role for smell identification testing in clinically normal, older individuals who are at risk for Alzheimer's disease," said Growdon. "For example, it may prove useful to identify proper candidates for more expensive or invasive tests. Our findings are promising but must be interpreted with caution. These results reflect a snapshot in time; research conducted over time will give us a better idea of the utility of olfactory testing for early detection of Alzheimer's."

The Harvard Aging Brain Study is funded by the U.S. National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association.

Odor Identification Deficits Linked with Transition from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Alzheimer's

Davangere Devanand, M.B.B.S., M.D., Professor of Psychiatry (in Neurology and in the Sergievsky Center) at Columbia University Medical Center and colleagues investigated a multi-ethnic (34% White, 30
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