Sense Of Smell Linked With Pneumonia: Study
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A team of researchers found that poor sense of smell may signify a higher risk of pneumonia in older adults. An acute loss of smell is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19, but for two decades it has been linked to other maladies like Parkinson's disease and dementia.

In a first-of-its-kind study, the team found a possible link between a poor sense of smell and a higher risk of pneumonia hospitalisation. They analysed 13 years of health data from 2,494 older adults, ages 71-82. This study aimed to examine whether a poor sense of smell in older adults is associated with a higher future risk of developing pneumonia.

The participants were given a Brief Smell Identification Test, or B-SIT, using common smells such as lemons and gasoline to determine if their sense of smell was good, moderate, or poor. Then, the participants were monitored for the next 13 years using clinical exams and follow-up phone calls to identify hospitalisation due to pneumonia.

The researchers found that compared with participants who had a good sense of smell, participants with a poor sense of smell were about 50 per cent more likely to be hospitalised with pneumonia at any time point during the 13-year follow-up. Among participants who never had had pneumonia before, the risk of having first-ever pneumonia was about 40 percent higher.

This study provides novel evidence that a poor sense of smell may have broader health implications beyond its connections to Parkinson's disease and dementia. "This is just an example of how little we know about this common sensory deficit. Either as a risk factor or as a marker, poor sense of smell in older adults may herald multiple chronic diseases beyond what we have known about. We need to think out of the box," the team concluded.

Source:
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanhl/article/PIIS2666-7568(21)00083-0/fulltext
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