The Research team of Michigan State University 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. The dinsingfa was published in the journal Lancet Healthy Longevity.
"About a quarter of adults 65 years or older have a poor sense of smell," said Honglei Chen, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics within MSU's College of Human Medicine. "Unlike vision or hearing impairment, this sensory deficit has been largely neglected; more than two-thirds of people with a poor sense of smell do not know they have it," added Chen.
In a first-of-its-kind study, Chen and his 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, in 71-82 age group, from metropolitan areas of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Memphis, Tennessee.
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.