As people age, we often think about weakening eyesight or hearing, but rarely is smell considered in the usual round-up of ailments. But as researchers have recently found out, that sense could be a bigger indicator of mortality than previously believed.
Scientists from the University of Chicago found that in a group of 3,000 people aged 57 to 85, 39 per cent of those found to have a poor sense of smell died within five years of the study.
As explained by the BBC, creators of the study hypothesized this could be due to a general lack of repair of cells in general, as occurs with the aging process.
Besides between a potential indicator of the end of life, losing your sense of smell can in fact impact your health in other ways.
"Smells impact how foods taste. Many people with smell deficits lose the joy of eating. They make poor food choices, get less nutrition," said Dr. Jayant M. Pinto, the study's lead author, in a press release on Wednesday. "They can't tell when foods have spoiled or detect odours that signal danger, like a gas leak or smoke. They may not notice lapses in personal hygiene."
Researchers were quick to point out, however, there are many factors involved in a lessened ability to smell, including a cold, allergies or a sinus infection.
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