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Posts tagged ‘smell’

The Sign of Death You Won’t See Coming

The Sign of Death You Won’t See Coming

But a diminished sense of smell could mean more than simply missing out on the fragrance of your favorite flowers—it could signal impending death.

Adults with anosmia were 2.4 times more likely to die in five years, compared to those with a keen sense of smell, according to new research from the University of Chicago.

Study authors tested the smell-abilities of more than 3,000 Americans between the ages of 57 and 85 by asking them to identify different scents such as peppermint, orange, fish and rose. Shockingly, an inability to distinguish these everyday smells was a stronger predictor of short-term death risk for participants than cancer, heart failure or lung disease.

The nose knows when somethings wrong

What’s behind the surprising connection between smell and death risk?

Previous research has linked an inability to smell peanut butter with an increased risk for Alzheimer’s (See: “The Peanut Butter Sniff Test for Alzheimer’s“). But the University of Chicago study is the first to show a strong link between a person’s sense of smell and their chances of death.

“We believe olfaction is the canary in the coal mine of human health,” remark study authors. “Olfactory dysfunction is a harbinger of either fundamental mechanisms of aging, environmental exposure, or interactions between the two.”

It turns out the schnoz is the sense organ that relies most heavily on new cell growth. If a person’s ability to regenerate cells is compromised by aging and/or a degenerative health condition, then their sense of smell may also decline.

Another possible explanation put forth by scientists is the fact that the human olfactory nerve is exposed to the outside environment, making it more susceptible to damage from airborne toxins and pollutants.

The takeaway

As with most surprising new research, the findings of this study need to be approached from the proper perspective. Just because you have trouble detecting the scent of your favorite blueberry muffins baking in the oven doesn’t mean that your five-year death clock has started to tick.

There are countless conditions that can cause nose troubles—from the common cold to dental problems to certain medications—so there’s no need to panic.

Dr. Jayant Pinto, lead study author and associate professor at the University of Chicago believes his team’s findings could help develop a simple test that doctors could use to monitor the overall health of their patients and identify potential problems earlier on, before more extreme symptoms show.

However, even if there’s no underlying disease that’s causing an individual’s anosmia, not being able to detect certain scents (such as the smell of smoke from an out-of-control fire or a natural gas leak) could be dangerous. A diminished sense of smell can also negatively affect a person’s eating and food safety habits.

The best rule of thumb if your sniffer is on the fritz? Have a doctor take a look. connects family caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing options for people caring for their elderly parents. is a trusted resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.


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Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

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5 Ways to Prevent Body Odor

5 Ways to Prevent Body Odor 5 Ways to Prevent Body Odor



It’s a fact of life: Sometimes you smell less than sweet. Whether it’s from food, excess sweat, or clothes that aren’t quite clean, here are some surprising solutions that can beat back body odor for good.

1.    Choose Natural Fabrics
Natural fabrics such as cotton absorb perspiration better than synthetic materials because they allow the absorbed sweat to evaporate from the fabric.

2.    Skip the garlic and onions
You know they make your breath smell, but what about the rest of you? “If you’ve been surrounded by cooking foods such as garlic, onions, and strong spices, these odors can cling to your clothes and hair,” says Lenise Banse, MD. “Until your clothing and hair are washed, these odors will be carried with you.”

3.    Apply some apple cider vinegar
“Apple cider vinegar is a great natural underarm deodorant,” says Georgianna Donadio, PhD. She suggests applying it directly to your armpits to kill body odor.

4.    Cut back on meat
Extracts of proteins and oils from certain foods and spices remain in your body’s excretions and secretions long after eating, and they can impart an odor, explains Ellen Kamhi, PhD, RN.

5.    Benefit from good bacteria
For a natural deodorant that fights odor from the inside out, Dr. Kamhi recommends taking a daily acidophilus supplement. Acidophilus is a probiotic bacteria that helps aid digestion.

By The Editors, Prevention is a new original source for daily news, information, and advice on personal and environmental health. focuses on “Where Health Meets Green” topics, providing daily news stories and breaking news along with easy-to-follow, high-impact tips and advice. features a Daily Newsletter, and provides simple, powerful tools including Recipe Finder and Home Remedy Finder to help audiences improve their health and their environment. also includes “Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen,” a personal blog where Editor-in-Chief and Rodale, Inc. CEO and Chairman Maria Rodale is “Cooking Up Trouble, Dishing Out Advice.”

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