Health in the News: Sniff Test for Alzheimer’s

“Tests that measure the sense of smell may soon become common in neurologists’ offices. Scientists have been finding increasing evidence that the sense of smell declines sharply in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and now a new study confirms that administering a simple ‘sniff test’ can enhance the accuracy of diagnosing this dreaded disease” says the article.

A simple, commercially available test known as the Sniffin’ Sticks Odor Identification Test, in which subjects must try to identify 16 different odors is being marketed in Europe now. When used in conjunction with cognitive testing, the sniff test added significantly to diagnostic accuracy, researchers reported.

So why don’t more doctors use this test? The Sniffin’ Sticks test, normally takes 5 to 8 minutes to administer—crunching into the limited time allowed by HMOs? The test could really help identify people with cognitive functions earlier on. 

References for Alzheimer’s Sniff Test: