Altered Affective Evaluations of Smells in Alzheimer's Disease.


BACKGROUND Studies of olfaction in Alzheimer's disease (AD) mainly focused on deficits in odor detection and identification, with very few investigations of olfactory emotional changes and their consequences for hedonics. OBJECTIVE The aim of the present study was to characterize affective evaluations of odors in AD patients. METHODS To this end, 20 AD patients and 20 matched controls were tested. Participants were screened for odor detection and identification ability and then asked to rate the intensity, pleasantness, and edibility of 20 odorants. RESULTS Results showed that, overall, AD patients had lower detection ability and perceived all odors as weaker than controls. As expected, they had lower identification ability on both cued and non-cued tasks. In addition, when smelling pleasant odors, patients had significantly lower hedonic ratings than controls (p <  0.02), whereas no group difference was found for neutral or unpleasant odors (p >  0.05 in both cases). Moreover, an analysis combining both intensity and pleasantness ratings showed that whereas intensity increased as a function of pleasantness and unpleasantness in controls, this quadratic relationship was not observed in AD patients. CONCLUSIONS The study suggests that the simplest categorization criteria of odors (intensity and hedonic valence) are impaired in AD patients (especially for pleasant odors).

DOI: 10.3233/JAD-150332

Cite this paper

@article{Joussain2016AlteredAE, title={Altered Affective Evaluations of Smells in Alzheimer's Disease.}, author={Pauline Joussain and Marion Bessy and Arnaud P. Fournel and Camille Ferdenzi and Catherine Rouby and Floriane Delphin-Combe and P. Krolak-Salmon and Moustafa Bensafi}, journal={Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD}, year={2016}, volume={49 2}, pages={433-41} }