An interesting study about the relationship between olfactory and mortality was published.
PlosOne: Olfactory Dysfunction Predicts 5-Year Mortality in Older Adults
In this article, the researchers examined 3,005 citizens with the age of 57-85, to be followed up. As a result, people with anosmia had four times risk of mortality for five years. No other factors have been proven to predict mortality in older people ever before.
It is a surprising report as such a simple test can forecast one's future. However, it has not been clarified why people with olfactory dysfunction is likely to decease. As the authors mentioned, anosmia is said to be a harbinger of some diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. And such neurodegenerative diseases have a higher mortality rate. However, the influence of olfactory function upon mortality was significant even after controlling for cognitive function of the participants.
Another issue is that how to use this result in a clinical setting. Should we examine all old patients' olfactory function? In case of detection of impairment, what should we do? It is likely that the person in front of us is approaching to the ending in the near future. Perhaps the family can keep the time to prepare for goodbye, which is important especially for persons with a certain amount of the estate.
Mortality is the fate of human being. We will predict it more precisely with some architecture. But more crucial is how to face it.