Loss of smell may be an important predictor of frailty, Elizabeth Tracey reports


One day soon, your doctor may be assessing your ability to smell as well as vision and hearing, if data from a Johns Hopkins study led by Nicholas Rowan, an otolaryngologist, and colleagues, is confirmed. The study examined data from 1200 older adults, and found that diminished smelling ability correlated with becoming frail as people got older.

Rowan: Smell loss is an overlooked sensory dysfunction that many of us have. It’s very prevalent. Even though many of us think things like vision and hearing are really important senses there’s a lot more to the sense of smell than what we think of. This research is part of a growing body of evidence that suggests that not only is your sense of smell really important for our quality of life, things like enjoying food, but also implications well beyond the healthspan but really our lifespan, overall mortality. This particular publication our frailty or our ability to respond to physiologic stressors.  :33

Rowan says loss of nerve cells in both the brain and the nose may contribute. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.