Faint smells of schizophrenia

11:37am, October 6, 2003

People who suffer from schizophrenia exhibit symptoms such as apathy, disorganized thinking, hallucinations, and delusions, as well as difficulties in discerning odors. According to a new study, olfactory problems can signal impending schizophrenia months before the ailment's more disturbing symptoms kick in.

Neuropsychologist Warrick J. Brewer of Orygen Youth Health, a mental-health-research facility in Parkville, Australia, and his coworkers studied 81 teenagers and young adults considered at high risk for developing schizophrenia because they showed mild paranoia and other psychotic symptoms. The team also tested 31 young people with no psychiatric symptoms. Each volunteer tried to match a series of scratch-and-sniff smells.

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