Smell Loss & Brain Health: Michael J. Fox Foundation

Your Nose Knows: How to Keep Your Brain Healthy at Every Age | PLUS: Michael J. Fox talks funding breakthrough research for Parkinson's disease

Michael J. Fox Foundation – Loss of sense of smell may be one of the most important signals of Parkinson’s risk. A landmark study is exploring this link toward prevention.

We’re asking everyone age 60 and up without Parkinson’s disease to take a smell test. Help scientists learn more about risk and develop new treatments.

A simple scratch-and-sniff test could help scientists learn more about Parkinson’s risk.

Open to everyone age 60 and older in the U.S. without Parkinson’s disease

Getting started is easy: Visit mysmelltest.org.

Answer a few brief questions to receive your scratch-and-sniff test in the mail.

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Take the test and enter your answers online.

The test takes about 15 minutes to complete. Your results may mean you are eligible to join a brain health study.

Narrated by MJFF Board member and NBC’s Sunday TODAY anchor Willie Geist, this video discusses the connection between brain health and your sense of smell: 

Many conditions can cause smell loss. This loss could be temporary or lasting. Lasting smell loss can be a risk factor for brain disease, including Parkinson’s.

After a diagnosis, some people with Parkinson’s report losing their sense of smell years or even decades earlier.  This condition is called hyposmia. Lost sense of smell can impact quality of life — affecting taste and, in some cases, leading to weight loss.

Scientists do not know why smell loss occurs in Parkinson’s. One popular theory is that the Parkinson’s process may start in the olfactory bulb. This part of the brain controls sense of smell. Some researchers believe clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein (a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease) may form in the olfactory bulb before migrating to other parts of the brain.

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Not everyone with smell loss will develop a brain disease. Researchers are studying this link to learn more about the connection. Request a scratch-and-sniff test to help scientists learn more about this risk factor.

The medical information contained in this article is for general information purposes only. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has a policy of refraining from advocating, endorsing or promoting any drug therapy, course of treatment, or specific company or institution. It is crucial that care and treatment decisions related to Parkinson’s disease and any other medical condition be made in consultation with a physician or other qualified medical professional.

Michael J. Fox talks funding breakthrough research for Parkinson’s disease


CBS NEWS – After more than three decades of living with Parkinson’s disease, actor Michael J. Fox has raised awareness and over $2 billion worth of research.

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991, when he was just 29 years old. In 2000, he established the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Now 62, Fox has lived with Parkinson’s for more than half his life. The progressive brain disorder can strip away a person’s movement and speech. It has no known cure.

“We didn’t have money. We didn’t have a voice,” Fox said. “And I thought, well, I could step in for these people and raise some hell.”

The money that Fox has raised has led to groundbreaking research. Earlier this year, a landmark, clinical study led by his foundation discovered a protein found in spinal fluid that can help detect Parkinson’s years before the first symptoms appear. It’s not a cure, Fox said, but it shows researchers are “on the right path.”

“It’s a big spotlight on where we need to go and what we need to focus on,” Fox said … READ MORE. 


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