COVID Loss Of Smell: A Sign of Alzheimer’s?


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — About 5% of COVID patients worldwide have reported loss of smell that lasts longer than six months. While this side effect of the virus can be annoying, researchers are finding it may also be a predictor for cognitive decline in some people.

If COVID-19 took away your sense of smell, you’re not alone! Research shows more than 27 million people have experienced COVID-related smell or taste loss.

Justin Turner, MD, PhD, Assoc. Prof. of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center says “We don’t really understand why that happens. We believe it’s due to some of inflammatory response of the smell nerve that occurs in these patients.”

Now, new findings presented at the Alzheimer’s Association international conference suggest there may be a link between loss of smell during covid and cognitive decline. Researchers followed 766 adults ages 55 to 95 after their COVID infection. They found two-thirds of those infected had some type of cognitive impairment at the end of that year. In half of the participants, the impairment was severe. In another study, unrelated to COVID, researchers found that a decline in sense of smell can predict loss of cognitive function and be a warning sign of structural changes in areas of the brain important in Alzheimer’s and dementia. While more research is needed to confirm the relationship between loss of smell and brain health, doctors say the good news is most people with COVID do recover.

Doctor Turner says, “It appears that the majority of patients get their smell function back within a couple of weeks.”

Doctor Turner says while there are no sure ways to bring smell back, systemic corticosteroids given early on may help. And, doctors are also using a method called olfactory retraining where patients smell different scents to retrain their nerves as a possible solution for smell recovery.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Roque Correa,


REPORT #3020

BACKGROUND: Over 27 million people lost their sense of smell due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many patients who experienced their loss of smell had the symptoms continue for up to six months, well after a negative test result showed. The loss of smell was more severe during earlier variants of the virus. When the virus first hit, many symptoms were overpowering but the most recognizable was loss of smell and taste. Studies showed that 90 percent of symptomatic people who lost sense of taste and smell regained these senses fully within a two-year time. A small portion of individuals reported a decrease in symptoms or no change at all. If you developed COVID-19 and did lose sense of smell, you are more likely to lose the sense later on in life or if the virus appears again. While more cases of lost senses were reported during the beginning of the outbreak, it can occur in any variant.


THE STUDY: Before the COVID-19 Pandemic normalized the loss of smell, this was a long preexisting side effect to dementia. This brought to question if contracting COVID-19 was also correlated with cognitive decline. NBC news reported that 5 percent of patients that suffered with Covid had lost their sense of smell for over six months. Researchers from Argentina at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference linked loss of smell during Covid-19 as a predictor of cognitive decline. The study consisted of adults over 60 years old and showed a stronger sensitivity to cognitive impairment after contracting Covid. The study followed 766 patients for a year after their illness, completing regular cognitive neuropsychiatric tests. Over half of patients were reported to suffer from cognitive impairment at the end of the year.


NEW REGULATIONS: The Olfactory system of the brain that controls our sense of smell is strongly correlated to the parts of our brain that hold and process memory. Breaking down and understanding the connection of COVID-19 Symptoms and Alzheimer’s disease could allow doctors to spot the early onset of dementia. This could potentially help more at-risk patients with genetic disposition. Doctors reported that the loss of smell is correlated to inflammatory responses in our brains. Loss of smell is a clear warning sign of cognitive dysfunction. Researchers are now looking for ways to retrieve sense of smell faster.


* For More Information, Contact:                                     Craig Boerner

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