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Age-related smelling loss significantly worse in African-Americans
Date:6/12/2013

y serves as a proxy for differential environmental exposures and life experiences, which may interact with biological differences," the authors note.

Certain medications, chronic or recurrent nasal disease or exposure to various volatile chemicals can harm olfactory function. "Sanitation workers, for example, are often affected," Pinto said. "They are routinely exposed to noxious odors that can trigger inflammation."

Presbyosmia can have a substantial impact on wellbeing, the researchers emphasize. Those who can't detect odors are unable to maintain their personal hygiene. Food smells have a huge impact on how foods taste, so many with smelling deficits lose the joy of eating.

"They make poor food choices, get less nutrition," Pinto said. "They can't tell when foods have spoiled or detect odors that signal danger, like a gas leak or smoke."

Follow-up interviews with the original study subjects five years later confirmed earlier findings that impaired olfaction also is a harbinger of mortality. Those with the poorest sense of smell in 2006 were three times more likely to have died by 2011 than those with normal smell function.

"Olfaction is the canary in the coal mine of human health," Pinto said.


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Contact: John Easton
john.easton@uchospitals.edu
773-795-5225
University of Chicago Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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