Olfactory function, cognitive aging, and dementia

PI: Erika Jonsson Laukka

Researcher in Psychology

Recent studies suggest that olfactory function may be a useful, non-invasive, biomarker for identifying individuals in a preclinical phase of dementia.

The aim of the planned project is to deepen our knowledge regarding olfactory deficits in aging and their role in predicting dementia and cognitive decline.

The project covers 4 main topics: (1) Olfactory performance and risk of future dementia and cognitive impairment, (2) The association between olfactory decline and cognitive decline, (3) Mechanisms of olfactory function and decline, and (4) Clinical advantages of olfactory testing. We will make use of the database from a Swedish population-based cohort – SNAC-K – with repeated assessment of olfactory abilities, neuropsychological test performance, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia across 18 years. Within SNAC-K, we will perform a new magnetic resonance imaging data collection for part of the sample. In relation to topics 1, 3 and 4, we will also collect new data on olfactory function in a memory clinic sample. Together, these databases will allow for significant novel contributions to the areas of olfaction, cognitive aging, and dementia, both with regard to theory and clinical applications.

This project is funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR).