ASK DR. MINDY™
MINDY KIM-MILLER, MD, PhD
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Some of my relatives have Alzheimer’s disease, and I am worried that I might get it too. I want a way to check for the early signs of dementia. Somebody told me that it might be possible to test myself at home using a smell test. Is that true?
–Anonymous, 52, Newport Beach
At-Home Screening Test
A new test is available for detecting one of the potential, early signs of AD that can be performed at home. This test, called Early Alert, checks a person’s sense of smell or odor recognition. The test consists of twelve cards, each containing a specific odor, which the user must scratch and sniff and identify. If the user cannot correctly identify four or more of the odors, the manufacturer recommends that the user seek medical advice from a physician. The test should not be conducted if you have congestion, sinusitis, or respiratory problems, because such conditions can alter one’s sense of smell. The manufacturer recommends testing for those over 50 years of age.
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