Testing shortened versions of smell tests to screen for hyposmia in Parkinson’s disease

Stephen D. Auger, Sofia Kanavou, Michael Lawton, Yoav Ben-Shlomo, Michele T. Hu, Anette E. Schrag, Huw R. Morris, Donald G. Grosset, Alastair J. Noyce*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
122 Downloads (Pure)


Hyposmia is an early feature in neurodegenerative diseases, most notably Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Using abbreviated smell tests could provide a cost-effective means for large-scale hyposmia screening. It is unclear whether short smell tests can effectively detect hyposmia in patient populations.

To test the ability of short smell combinations to ‘pre-screen’ for probable hyposmia in people with PD and target administration of more extensive tests, such as the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT).

We assessed the screening performance of a short 4 smell combination previously derived from use of the 40-item UPSIT in healthy older people and its ability to detect hyposmia in a large cohort of PD patients.

The novel 4 smell combination included Menthol, Clove, Onion and Orange and had a sensitivity of 87.1% (95% confidence interval: 84.9%-89.2%) and specificity of 69.7% (63.3%-75.5%) for detecting hyposmia in patients with PD. A different (also novel) 4-item combination developed using a data driven approach in PD patients only achieved 81.3% (78.2%-84.4%) sensitivity for equivalent specificity.

A short 4 smell combination derived from a healthy population demonstrated high sensitivity to detect those with hyposmia and PD.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
JournalMovement Disorders Clinical Practice
Early online date28 Feb 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Feb 2020


  • hyposmia
  • Parkinson's disease
  • smell tests
  • screening


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