How Showering May Help Identify an Early Sign of Alzheimer’s

Health professionals have advised an early symptom of dementia that can be detected while taking a shower, one that many individuals might not even be aware of.

While taking a shower, patients may notice a little-known dementia symptom that can help them receive a crucial early diagnosis, according to health experts. There are presently 55 million people living with dementia worldwide, and this number is likely to grow [1].

Dementia is an umbrella term for over 200 degenerative illnesses that affect how a person’s brain cells function, with Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and mixed dementia being the most frequent [2].

Memory loss, confusion, loss of executive function, and speech issues are some of the symptoms that will worsen with time and significantly impact the person’s life. Although receiving a diagnosis can be painful for the patient and their loved ones, doing so early on may allow them to understand their illness and plan for the future.

How can showering help identify Alzheimer’s early signs

Although many individuals are aware of the memory loss connected with dementia, one symptom that many people are unaware of is the loss of smell. According to a study conducted by experts at the University of Chicago, an acute decline in an individual’s sense of smell could be an early predictor of dementia [3]. That is because memory is critical for our capacity to recognize distinct odors.

Based on a longitudinal study of 515 older individuals, these results aim to pave the way for the development of smell-test screening, similar to vision and hearing tests.

These discoveries may also be helpful for people who keep an eye out for small indicators in their own lives. For instance, you should consult your doctor if you can’t smell your shampoo, conditioner, or shower gel while bathing or taking a shower [4].

According to senior author Jayant M. Pinto, professor of surgery at the University of Chicago, this work adds to the body of research showing that a sharp reduction in smell is an excellent predictor of anatomical changes in particular brain regions. Researchers were able to demonstrate that the volume and shape of grey matter in the brain’s olfactory and memory-related areas were lesser in individuals with rapid olfactory decline compared to those with less severe olfactory deterioration, according to Pinto, an expert on olfactory and sinus disease.

Olfactory testing may be an effective Alzheimer’s screening method.

Serial olfactory testing may be an approachable, practical way to track the rate of olfactory deterioration as a surrogate for neurodegeneration in the brain and a predictor of future dementia and cognitive decline.

The researchers observed that a rapid loss of smell could be a promising early diagnostic of Alzheimer’s due to the accessibility of testing, adding that the Brief Smell Identification Test is a non-invasive, safe, and reliable test that takes only around five minutes to perform.


  1. Dementia. World Health Organization. Updated Online: 15th March, 2023. Accessed: 5th October, 2023.
  2. What is dementia? Dementia UK. Published Online: March, 2023. Accessed: 5th October, 2023.
  3. Pacyna, R.R., Han, S.D., Wroblewski, K.E., McClintock, M.K. and Pinto, J.M., 2023. Rapid olfactory decline during aging predicts dementia and GMV loss in AD brain regions. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 19(4), pp.1479-1490.
  4. HEALTH CHECK The little-known symptom of dementia you might spot in the shower. The Sun. Published Online: 31st July, 2023. Accessed: 5th October, 2023.
  5. Roszkowski, J. Rapid loss of smell could be early indicator of dementia. McKnights. Published Online: 1st August, 2022. Accessed: 5th October, 2023.
  6. Little-known early sign of dementia could be spotted in the shower. Mirror. Published Online: 8th August, 2023. Accessed: 5th Oct, 2023.
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