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© 2019 Loudghi A, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

RESEARCH ARTICLE | OPEN ACCESS DOI: 10.23937/2378-3001/1410086

Unawareness of Olfactory Dysfunction in Older Adults

Amal Loudghi1,2, Majed Alotaibi1,2, Melissa Lessard-Beaudoin1,2, Denis Gris3, Kate Busch1, Pierrette Gaudreau4,5 and Rona K Graham1,2*

1Research Centre on Aging CIUSSS de l'Estrie - CHUS, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada

2Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada

3Department of Pediatrics, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada

4Department of Medicine, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada

5Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal Research Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Deterioration of olfaction is a common phenomenon observed in the senior population. A number of factors may cause this deficit including infections, aging and neurodegenerative diseases. The aim of this study was to evaluate the reliability of the self-report as a measure of olfactory function in seniors. A total of 93 community-dwelling participants (43 men and 50 women) from the Quebec NuAge cohort on Nutrition and Successful Aging participated in the Olfactory Response and Cognition in Aging (ORCA) study. The age range was 80-95 years and all subjects had a telephone mini mental state examination (t-MMSE) score > 18. Individuals were interviewed using a self-report ("do you suffer from smell problems?") and quantitative (University of Pennsylvania Smelling Identification Test (UPSIT)) olfactory tests. Based on the self-report, 81% of the participants claimed to have a normal sense of olfaction. However, based on the UPSIT, 95% of them showed different forms of microsmia. These results reveal that most senior citizens are unaware of their olfactory dysfunction and indicate that an self-report questionnaire is not a valid instrument to assess olfactory function in the aging population.