Intact global cognitive and olfactory ability predicts lack of transition to dementia

Devanand, Devangere P.; Lee, Seonjoo; Luchsinger, Jose A.; Andrews, Howard F.; Goldberg, Terry E.; Huey, Edward D.; Schupf, Nicole; Manly, Jennifer J.; Stern, Yaakov; Kreisl, William Charles; Mayeux, Richard Paul

Introduction: Odor identification deficits characterize Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. We examined if intact performance on brief cognitive and odor identification tests predicts lack of transition to dementia.

Methods: In an urban community, 1037 older adults without dementia completed the 40‐item University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test, which includes the 12‐item Brief Smell Identification Test (B‐SIT). Data from 749 participants followed up for 4 years were analyzed.

Results: In covariate‐adjusted survival analyses, impairment on the Blessed Orientation Memory Concentration Test and B‐SIT each predicted dementia (n = 109), primarily Alzheimer's disease (n = 101). Among participants with intact olfactory (B‐SIT ≥ 11/12 correct) and cognitive (Blessed Orientation Memory Concentration Test ≤ 5/28 incorrect) ability, 3.4% (4/117) transitioned to dementia during follow‐up with no transitions in the 70‐75 and 81‐83 years age group quartiles.

Discussion: Odor identification testing adds value to global cognitive testing, and together can identify individuals who rarely transition to dementia, thereby avoiding unnecessary diagnostic investigation.


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Alzheimer's & Dementia

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May 4, 2021