Is sense of smell unique in predicting frailty among older adults? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Frailty is a condition that develops among older adults characterized by weight loss, inactivity, weakness, slow walking speed and exhaustion. Now a Johns Hopkins study shows that declining ability to smell may predict the development of frailty. Otolaryngologist Nicholas Rowan, one of the study’s authors, explains the finding.

Rowan: There’s some evidence that says that maybe sense of smell is just another one of these bad things that can happen to us and if you have enough bad things, then perhaps you’re at bigger risk. And then there’s this other concept that frailty is actually a syndrome, it’s a continuum. So as you get older and your progress across this overall trajectory, where you ultimately reach a point of no return. And what we found was it does look like there’s probably an association between both threshold, or sensitivity, and identification with frailty. But threshold, or sensitivity, is actually more related to physical frailty.  :32

Rowan notes that future studies will look at whether intervention helps. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.