There are all sorts of different ways for people to try to predict just how long their lives will last on this earth; some believe in astrology to help predict the time of their demise, while others believe in nothing but sheer destiny. Well, according to a new study, sniffing out the answer to the age-old question may be the most accurate way to do so.
In a study that consisted of participants 50 years and older, researchers were able to find a definitive connection between the inability to smell certain scents such as the strong odor of fish, or the ever recognizable smell of mint, to the heightened risk for death.
Referred to in the medical field as “olfactory dysfunction,” the loss of the ability to smell certain fragrances and odors is an extremely accurate predictor of the time in which someone will die. Now, while the loss of smell doesn’t cause imminent death, it is one of the best and most accurate of the early warning signs that something isn’t quite right within the body, and that damage has occurred.
In the study, researchers gave a smell test to over 3,000 people between the ages of 50 and 90. Each participant was asked to identify five smells, they were fish, orange, leather, rose and peppermint. Close to 80 percent of those in the study were deemed to have normal or average smelling capabilities, and pointed out at least four of the smells correctly. On the other hand, roughly five percent couldn’t properly identify at least one of the odors.
A mere half a decade later, 13 percent of the participants had passed away, and of those, 40 percent were among those that couldn’t identify at least one of the five smells. This compared to about 10 percent of of deaths among those that scored a passing grade on the smell test.
The findings show that the olfactory dysfunction condition is linked to a major decline in the body’s ability to maintain and repair essential components within the body, and in doing so, they contribute to a serious decline in overall health.
The ability to smell is so closely tied to many of the natural, everyday processes that we go through, that we often do not realize how going without it can harm our health. Smell helps humans maintain adequate nutrition; it also helps us to weed out good things from the bad, and to eat and drink things that we know are not hazardous to our health.
It may seem strange to use smell to help predict mortality, but it’s far easier to do so when you think about the rigorous testing used today to help do the same thing. Smelling our way around and using it to gauge our health may be a new technique used more and more, very soon.
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