Noticing This In The Shower Could Be An Early Sign Of Dementia

The information comes from a new study.
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With NHS estimates suggesting that the UK could see more than a million dementia cases by 2030, keeping an eye out for early symptoms is a good idea.

After all, as the NHS says, “Although there is no cure for dementia at the moment, an early diagnosis means its progress can be slowed down in some cases, so the person may be able to maintain their mental function for longer.”

We’ve written before about how struggling to walk up stairs due to shuffling steps and poor depth perception can be a sign of early Alzheimer’s.

And now, a study from the University of Chicago reveals that you might be able to notice another symptom in the shower.

“The UChicago Medicine scientists found that a rapid decline in a person’s sense of smell during a period of normal cognition predicted multiple features of Alzheimer’s disease, including smaller gray matter volume in the areas of the brain related to smell and memory, worse cognition and higher risk of dementia,” the study said.

This means that failing to smell strong scents like shower gel and shampoos, as well as not picking up on strong cooking aromas and candles, could be an early indicator of dementia.

Senior study author Jayant Pinto, professor of surgery at the University of Chicago, said “This study provides another clue to how a rapid decline in the sense of smell is a really good indicator of what’s going to end up structurally occurring in specific regions of the brain.

“We were able to show that the volume and shape of grey matter in olfactory and memory-associated areas of the brains of people with rapid decline in their sense of smell were smaller compared to people who had less severe olfactory decline.”

Anything else?

This is just one of many symptoms of Alzheimer’s, Pinto says.

“We have to take our study in the context of all of the risk factors that we know about Alzheimer’s, including the effects of diet and exercise,” he shared.

“Sense of smell and change in the sense of smell should be one important component in the context of an array of factors that we believe affect the brain in health and ageing.”

Other symptoms of Alzheimer’s can include, per Alzheimer Scotland:

  • Struggling with timekeeping, or not being able to read an analogue clock
  • Personality or mood changes, especially dramatic ones
  • Struggling to find the right words or names
  • Losing sight
  • Sensory issues, like struggling with depth perceptions, loud noises, or changes to their sense of taste or smell
  • Hallucinations.

The NHS advises you to see a GP as soon as possible if you’re worried about yourself or a loved one and suggests you bring up the tricky topic gently and in a familiar place if someone you’re worried about seems to struggle with the issue.