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Problems identifying odours predicts mild cognitive impairment in the elderly

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Robert S Wilson

Correspondence to: Robert S Wilson, Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Rush University Medical Center, 600 S Paulina, Ste 1038, Chicago, IL 60612, USA;



Does impaired odour identification predict the development of mild cognitive impairment in elderly people?


589 community-dwelling elderly people (average age 79.9 years; 77% female) participating in the Rush Memory and Ageing Project (a study of risk factors for common chronic conditions) who agreed to annual evaluations and brain donation at death. Exclusions: baseline mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia.


Rush University Medical Centre, Chicago and University of Pennsylvania, US; ongoing study commenced in 1997.

Prognostic factors:

Ability to identify familiar odours assessed by score on the 12-item Brief Smell Identification Test (shortened form of the test). A microcapsule was scratched and adults had to match the smell with one of four options. …

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  • Competing interests: None.