New study combines sense of smell with pneumonia

New study combines sense of smell with pneumonia

Washington: A team of researchers from Michigan State University found that poor sense of smell may indicate a greater 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 pathologies such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
The study was published in a journal called Lancet Healthy Longiversity.
“Approximately one-fourth of the smell occurs in adults 65 years of age or older,” said Höngeli Chen, professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics within MSU’s College of Human Medicine.
“In contrast to visual or hearing impairment, this sensory deficit has been largely neglected, with more than two-thirds of people with a sense of smell not knowing they have it,” Chen said.
In an earlier study, Chen and his team found a possible link between bad odor and the risk of pneumonia hospitalization. They analyzed health data from 2,494 older adults, ages 71–82, 13 years old, from the metropolitan areas of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Memphis, Tennessee.
The purpose of this study is to examine whether a poor sense of smell in older adults is associated with a higher future risk of developing pneumonia.
Participants were given a foul odor recognition test, or B-SIT, to determine whether their odor was good, moderate, or bad, using a common odor such as lemon odor and gasoline. Then, participants were monitored for the next 13 years using a clinical examination and follow-up phone calls to identify hospitalizations due to pneumonia.
Researchers found that compared to participants who had a good sense of smell, they were 50 percent more likely to be hospitalized with pneumonia at any time during the 13-year follow-up than participants with a poor sense of smell. Among participants (with a poor sense of smell) who have never had pneumonia before, the risk of first-degree pneumonia was nearly 40 percent higher.
Yakun Yuan, a postdoctoral fellow of Chen’s research group, said, “To our knowledge, this study provides the first epidemiological evidence that impaired olfaction (sense of smell) is associated with long-term risk of pneumonia in older adults.”
This study provides novel evidence that a poor sense of smell can have widespread health effects beyond its connection to Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
“This is just one 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 be beyond the Herald’s many chronic diseases. Is what we know about. We need to think. Out of the box, “Chen concluded.

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