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aging, cognition, HIV, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder, olfaction, smell, taste



  1. Vance, David E. PhD, MGS


Abstract: Older adults and people living with HIV have been shown to experience disproportionately more olfactory dysfunction. Some neurological studies suggest that olfactory dysfunction may be a precursor to cognitive dysfunction. The purpose of our study was to determine whether olfactory dysfunction was predictive of cognition. In our cross-sectional study, 51 African American and Caucasian men living with HIV (ages >= 40 years) were administered a cognitive performance battery and two objective olfactory measures (the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test and the Smell Threshold Test). The strongest cognitive associations to the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test performance were found in the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test, a measure of verbal learning and verbal memory. These findings were consistent with previous research, demonstrating a relationship between decreased olfactory function and poorer cognitive performance. An important clinical implication from these results is the potential use of olfactory dysfunction as a prodromal biomarker for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder.