Study Connects Olfaction and Neurodegenerative Disease


A study on the relationship between olfactory deterioration and neurodegenerative disease will be addressed by the collaboration between Monell Center and the Brain Health Registry.

In order to gain better insight, Monell Center has partnered with the Brain Heath Registry (BHR) in order to discover how sense of smell is connected to health status. Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, will be observed in regards to the decline of the olfactory sense.

“Declines in olfactory function have been shown to be among the earliest signs of brain-related neurodegenerative diseases, but we need more data to better understand this connection,” said Monell olfactory scientist Pamela Dalton, PhD, MPH.

Cells that detect odors, the olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs), are closely related to the brain and continually regenerate throughout a person’s life. With a decline of the olfactory sense, that can indicate a change in the function and regeneration of the ORNs. While not all loss of smell relates to a brain-related disease, the study may help determine what parameters of olfactory loss can lead to a neurodegenerative disorder.

The collaboration between the two companies will begin with 1000 BHR participants using scratch and sniff test cards to confirm olfactory abilities.

“In time, we hope to understand the most optimal timing for treatment regimens for these debilitating neurodegenerative diseases,” said Dalton.

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