Chapter 11. Olfactory impairment in normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease

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This chapter provides a broad review of early and recent findings on the neuropsychology of olfactory impairment in normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in a growing population of elderly. Neural and anatomical changes in these populations underlying olfactory impairment are described, and effects on behavioral measures of olfactory function are presented. These functions span from sensory to cognitive in character, and include detection sensitivity, discrimination, recognition memory, familiarity, identification and semantic networks. Furthermore, the role of awareness of olfactory impairment is discussed with respect to normal aging and AD. Other aspects provided in this chapter include olfactory testing for early signs of AD, and consequences of olfactory impairment on quality of life, food intake and health. Finally, future research needs are identified and discussed.


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