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Subjective Olfactory Loss in Older Adults Concurs with Long-Term Odor Identification Decline
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
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2019 (English)In: Chemical Senses, ISSN 0379-864X, E-ISSN 1464-3553, Vol. 44, no 2, p. 105-112Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Olfactory impairments may provide early indications of future health outcomes in older adults. Thus, an important question concerns whether these impairments can be self-assessed. Previous findings of cross-sectional studies indicate low correlations between self-reported olfactory function and objective olfactory performance. On the other hand, subjective olfactory impairments predict future dementia and mortality in longitudinal settings. No previous study has assessed the relationship between subjectively and objectively measured decline in olfaction over time. Based on data for 903 older adults derived from the Betula Study, a Swedish population-based prospective study, we tested whether rate-of-change in odor identification could be predicted from subjective olfactory decline over a time span of 10 years during which subjective and objective odor functions were assessed on 2 or 3 test occasions. Indeed, we found that participants who experienced subjective olfactory decline over the study period also had significantly steeper rates of decline in odor identification, even after adjusting for demographic, cognitive, and genetic factors that previously have been associated with performance in odor identification. This association was, however, not present in a subsample with baseline cognitive impairment. We interpret these results as evidence that when asked about whether they have an olfactory impairment or not, older persons are assessing intraindividual olfactory changes, rather than interindividual differences. Our results indicate that subjective olfactory loss reflects objective olfactory decline in cognitively intact older adults. This association might be harnessed to predict health outcomes and highlights the need to develop effective olfactory self-assessments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 44, no 2, p. 105-112
Keywords [en]
decline, longitudinal studies, odor identification, self-reported olfaction, smell, subjective
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-166928DOI: 10.1093/chemse/bjy079ISI: 000461508600004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-166928DiVA, id: diva2:1295010
Note

This publication is based on data collected in the Betula prospective cohort study, Umeå University, Sweden. The authors wish to thank Lars-Göran Nilsson and Lars Nyberg, as well as the participants and the staff of the study for their valuable contribution. The Betula Project is supported by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW) and the Swedish Research Council (K2010-61X-21446-01). In addition, grants were provided through a regional agreement between Umeå University and Västerbotten County Council on cooperation in the field of Medicine, Odontology and Health. This work was further funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Dnr 2013–2056) to M.J., the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation (2014.0178) to J.O., and the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (M14 – 0375:1) to M.L.

Available from: 2019-03-08 Created: 2019-03-08 Last updated: 2019-04-01Bibliographically approved

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