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The Association Between Olfactory Function and Cognition in Aging African American and Caucasian Men With HIV

A Pilot Study

Vance, David E. PhD, MGS*; Cody, Shameka L. PhD, AGNP-C; Nicholson, W. Chance MSN, PMHNP-BC; Cheatwood, John MSN, CRNP, PMHNP-BC, RN; Morrison, Shannon PhD, RN; Fazeli, Pariya L. PhD

Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care: September-October 2019 - Volume 30 - Issue 5 - p e144–e155
doi: 10.1097/JNC.0000000000000086
Research Article
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Older adults and people living with HIV have been shown to experience disproportionately more olfactory dysfunction. Some neurological studies suggest that olfactory dysfunction may be a precursor to cognitive dysfunction. The purpose of our study was to determine whether olfactory dysfunction was predictive of cognition. In our cross-sectional study, 51 African American and Caucasian men living with HIV (ages ≥ 40 years) were administered a cognitive performance battery and two objective olfactory measures (the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test and the Smell Threshold Test). The strongest cognitive associations to the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test performance were found in the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test, a measure of verbal learning and verbal memory. These findings were consistent with previous research, demonstrating a relationship between decreased olfactory function and poorer cognitive performance. An important clinical implication from these results is the potential use of olfactory dysfunction as a prodromal biomarker for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder.

David E. Vance, PhD, MGS, is a Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Research, School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA. Shameka L. Cody, PhD, AGNP-C, is an Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA. W. Chance Nicholson, MSN, PMHNP-BC, is a Nurse Practitioner, Instructor, and a PhD student at the School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA. John Cheatwood, MSN, CRNP, PMHNP-BC, is a Nurse Practitioner and PhD student at the School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA. Shannon Morrison, PhD, is an Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA. Pariya L. Fazeli, PhD, is an Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.

Corresponding author: David E. Vance, e-mail: devance@uab.edu

Sponsorships or competing interests that may be relevant to content are disclosed at the end of this article.

© 2019 Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
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