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Loss of smell predicts death

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Being unable to identify scents predicts the risk of dying in the next five years more strongly than heart failure, cancer or lung disease, new research shows.

Researchers asked 3005 adults living in the community aged between 57 and 85 years in 2005-6 to identify five odours: peppermint, fish, orange, rose and leather. Almost 78% were 'normosmic' (normal sense of smell), with 46% and 29% correctly identifying five and four odours, respectively. Almost 20% correctly identified two or three of the five odours (hyposmia). The remainder were anosmic, correctly identifying one (2.4%) or none (1.1%) of the odours.
Performance declined steadily with age: 64% of 57-year-olds correctly id


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