February 20, 2013

Smelling Kidney Function in Diabetes


nose2It sounds a little too sci-fi for real science, but the current study is leaning toward good evidence that kidney function in diabetes can be smelled . It’s quite impressive, actually.

The olfactory system is one of the oldest senses in humans. It is immediately recognized as the sense of smell, but it is also a highly specialized air purifier and conditioning mechanism to clear and heat the air we breathe. The sense of smell is closely related to taste.

The aim of this study was to determine whether olfactory and taste sensations are related to renal failure in people with diabetes. Can a reduction in correctly identifying smells be correlated to renal impairment?

Patients with diabetes were asked to identify 29 different smells,.

There was no significant relationship between HbA1c and olfactory and taste sensations. However, there was a significant relationship between the percentage of correct responses and albuminuria. Albuminuria is an identifier of dysfunction in the kidney.

Albeit, a very primitive test of kidney function– it’s important to stop and smell the roses once in a while. If one day, you notice the smell is a little less aromatic, it might be a sign to schedule a checkup with your nephrologist.

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