Can You Pass This Sniff Test? YOUR life may depend on your answer.

If you were expecting this to be the first application of scratch-and-sniff technology in a digital display, you're going to be terribly disappointed. You'll have better luck checking with the folks at Apple or Microsoft. No, this is about your sniffer and mine—the ones we were born with.

As babies we entered the world with a highly developed sense of smell that began in our first months in the womb. From that point on, as we were exposed to a growing panoply of aromas, we learned to detect and identify everything from the smell of turkey roasting in the oven to the tell-tale odor of illicit cigarettes on a misbehaving teenager. Now, that sense of smell could be of even greater importance to us at this advanced stage of our lives.

Here's the deal. Researchers have not only found a link between our sense of smell and Alzheimers—sad to say—they've also more recently discovered that a diminished sense of smell relates to life expectancy itself.

Thanks to a lab full of Swedish scientists and research subjects, smell testing appears to provide a window into our brain—what's left of it at any rate. As it ages the very same nasty plaques that can clog and gum up the functioning of our brain cells and lead to Alzheimers may damage our olfactory nerves first. Like a canary in a coal mine, signs of a loss of our sense of smell may also signal the onset of more serious trouble waiting in the wings.

We already know that aging takes its toll on us in numerous ways. As people age many tend to lose their sense of taste, their ability to distinguish between one taste and another. That's why it's common for the elderly to favor sweets, one of the last tastes to disappear.

The good news: If your sniffer is still working, that's an indication you have some good years ahead ... and with all your marbles. Just don't go and step in front of a bus tomorrow.

On the other hand: If your sense of smell is fading, if you couldn't smell a skunk if it bumped into you, DO NOT BE ALARMED. This isn't the end of the world. Oh, sure, you might want to make an appointment with your doctor, (like, say, next week). Of course. But don't lose your cool. Consider the bright side. What better time to, say, pay a visit to your friendly neighborhood Ferrari dealer? Hey, if not now, when?

Uh, have a good day,

rob

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