Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Olfactory function in young adolescents with Down's syndrome.
  1. D A McKeown,
  2. R L Doty,
  3. D P Perl,
  4. R E Frye,
  5. I Simms,
  6. A Mester
  1. Smell and Taste Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


    Decreased ability to smell is present in adults with Down's syndrome, many of whom are known to have brain pathology analogous to that seen in Alzheimer's disease. Because olfactory loss is well documented in Alzheimer's disease, the question arises whether young adolescents with Down's syndrome, who have no clear Alzheimer's disease-like neuropathology, also exhibit olfactory dysfunction. To consider this issue, standardised tests of odour discrimination and identification were administered to 20 young adolescents with Down's syndrome (mean age (SD) 13.89 (1.98) years) and their test scores were compared with 20 mentally retarded and 20 non-mentally retarded control subjects matched to the patients with Down's syndrome on the basis of cognitive ability. No significant differences in olfactory function were found among the three study groups. These findings, along with those from studies of olfactory function in older patients with Down's syndrome, suggest that Down's syndrome related olfactory dysfunction occurs only at ages when Alzheimer's disease-like pathology is present.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.