Depressive Symptoms and Olfactory Function in Older Adults

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2008 Aug;62(4):450-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1819.2008.01824.x.


Aims: Neuroimaging studies suggest a significant overlap between brain regions involved in the regulation of olfaction and mood. The aim of the present study was to search for correlations between depressive symptomatology measured by the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and olfactory function assessed with Sniffin' Sticks in non-demented older adults (aged 53-79 years).

Methods: Taste detection thresholds were also measured by means of electrogustometry on the anterior tongue.

Results: No correlation was found between the GDS scores (range: 0-12) and olfactory thresholds or olfactory identification scores. Similarly, there was no relationship between depressive symptoms and electrogustometric thresholds. Subjects (n = 25) scoring > or = 5 on the GDS were classified as 'depressed' and all other individuals (n = 60) were classified as 'non-depressed'. The two groups did not differ in terms of the olfactory measures and electrogustometric threshold.

Conclusion: Depressive symptoms are not associated with any major olfactory deficit in non-clinical older adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiopathology
  • Personality Inventory
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Smell / physiology*
  • Taste Threshold / physiology