Your sense of smell could predict when you'll die

In a study of older adults, researchers have found a link between the inability to identify certain scents— like peppermint or fish — and an increased risk of mortality over the next five years. Known as “olfactory dysfunction,” the loss of smell is an even stronger predictor of when a person will likely die than conditions such as heart failure, cancer or lung disease, according to researchers at the University of Chicago.

“We think loss of the sense of smell is like the canary in the coal mine,” lead author Dr. Jayant Pinto, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Chicago, said in a statement. “It doesn’t directly cause death, but it’s a harbinger — an early warning that something has gone badly wrong, that damage has been done.”