Correlation between olfactory function, age, sex, and cognitive reserve index in the Italian population

Carla Masala
Fabrizio Sanna;


Purpose Loss of smell decreases the quality of life and contributes to the failure in recognizing hazardous substances. Given the relevance of olfaction in daily life, it is important to recognize an undiagnosed olfactory dysfunction to prevent these possible complications. Up to now, the prevalence of smell disorders in Italy is unknown due to a lack of epidemiological studies. Hence, the primary aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of olfactory dysfunction in a sample of Italian adults. Methods Six hundred and thirty-three participants (347 woman and 286 men; mean age 44.9 years, SD 17.3, age range 18–86) were recruited from 10 distinct Italian regions. Participants were recruited using a convenience sapling and were divided into six diferent age groups: 18–29 years (N=157), 30–39 years (N=129), 40–49 years (N=99), 50–59 years (N=106),>60 years (N=142). Olfactory function, cognitive abilities, cognitive reserve, and depression were assessed, respectively, with: Snifn’ Sticks 16-item Odor Identifcation Test, Montreal Cognitive Assessment, Cognitive Reserve Index, and the Beck Depression Inventory. Additionally, socio-demographic data, medical history, and health-related lifestyle information were collected. Results About 27% of participants showed an odor identifcation score<12 indicating hyposmia. Multiple regression analysis revealed that OI was signifcantly correlated with age, sex, and cognitive reserve index, and young women with high cognitive reserve index showing the highest olfactory scores. Conclusion This study provides data on the prevalence of olfactory dysfunction in diferent Italian regions
Olfactory function, Smell, Snifn’ Sticks, Olfaction, Identifcation, Chemosensory system
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