This unexpected symptom could be the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease

It is scary to think that you might have a disease… but it’s even scarier to realize that you’re not sure exactly what all of the warning signs are. After all, early detection makes many diseases much more treatable. And new scientific research is working to keep you healthy and alert at the first signal of trouble — especially with a disease like Alzheimer’s, for which there are few known warning signs. And this latest discovery of an unexpected symptom could make it easier to catch Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages.

In a new study from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, scientists may have learned a crucial sign in helping to detect Alzheimer's disease earlier than we previously thought. The key? A patient's declining sense of smell.


But how can the decline of one of the five senses be a warning sign to Alzheimer’s? Well, according to the study, a patient’s ability to identify and use their sense of smell can provide crucial insight into their likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s — even a decade before any memory loss occurs.

Dr. Mark Albers, lead investigators, says:

"There is increasing evidence that the neurodegeneration behind Alzheimer's disease starts at least 10 years before the onset of memory symptoms... If these results hold up, this sort of inexpensive, noninvasive screening could help us identify the best candidates for novel therapies to prevent the development of symptoms of this tragic disease."


As the sixth-leading cause of death among Americans, Alzheimer’s disease is nothing to take lightly. But knowing more about the disease early on could help with long-term care and treatment options.

So as science continues to develop, these factors can all play a role in helping to detect Alzheimer’s sooner, which could lead to better long-term treatment for patients with the illness. And that’s definitely an improvement.