Women better at scents
Women are better than men at recognizing scents. And by the way, did you know our sense of smell has an expiration date? It deteriorates after age 65.
“There are of course individual variations, but we’ve found that after age 65 there’s a marked deterioration,” says researcher in neuropsychology at Stockholm University Margareta Hedner. In Hedner’s doctoral thesis, she’s mapped the connection between memory, scent, aging and genes. She had people identify common scents like cinnamon, orange and tar, and in general women were better at doing so than men. Losing one’s sense of smell actually means a loss of quality of life. Our scent memory can invoke strong feelings and take us back to our childhood. Even really old people can remember the scents of their young years. “We know that children who are born prematurely use their nose to orientate themselves and recognize the scent of their mothers,” says Hedner. She also says the sense of smell is affected in the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease. That knowledge may aid doctors to earlier diagnose the disease. “More research is needed,” Hedner explains. “But in the future perhaps scent tests could be added to the tests already performed today.”