Odor Identification in Young and Elderly African-Americans and Caucasians

Spec Care Dentist. Jul-Aug 1995;15(4):138-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1754-4505.1995.tb00501.x.


Olfactory function is affected by age and gender. However, there are few data on smell function in various racial/cultural groups, in particular, in different-aged African-Americans. Therefore, this study sought to determine if there is a relationship among age, gender, and race for smell identification. Sixty healthy African-Americans and 60 Caucasians between the ages of 20-40 and 60-80 years were administered the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT). Older persons, regardless of race, had lower UPSIT scores, were more likely to be microsmic and anosmic, and had increased chemosensory complaints. Smell performance among females was better compared with males. Overall, African-Americans had lower UPSIT scores and age- and gender-adjusted percentile rank scores compared with Caucasians, but these differences were significant only among younger subjects. In addition, both young and old African-Americans had no smell complaints. The results from this study suggest that age, gender, and race have an influence on smell identification.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Smell / physiology*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taste / physiology
  • United States