Chemosensory Perception

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 19–26 | Cite as

Olfactory Function and Age: a Sniffin’ Sticks Extended Test Study Performed in Sardinia

  • Carla Masala
  • Luca Saba
  • Maria Paola Cecchini
  • Paolo Solla
  • Francesco Loy



Several studies evaluated the influence of cultural components on the Sniffin’ Sticks Identification Test in different countries. The aim of this study was to analyze the olfactory function in a large sample of healthy subjects living in Sardinia, an island known for its historic genetic isolation, in relation to different age ranges to provide new data in healthy Sardinian subjects.


Olfactory perception of 161 participants (108 females and 53 males; age range 19–78 years) was assessed through three different parameters: odor detection threshold, discrimination, and identification by means of the Sniffin’Sticks Extended test (SST).


Our results show that young adults were generally normosmic, while in subjects over 55, a statistically significant age-related decrease of all the parameters was observed. Regarding odor identification task, a few, such as leather, apples, lemons, cloves, and pineapples, were frequently incorrectly identified by participants probably due to the similarities between the odors and distractors.

Conclusion and Implications

Our data provide a comprehensive evaluation of the three olfactory components in the Sardinian population and confirm a decrease in the odor detection threshold, discrimination and identification as well as in the global TDI score in subjects over 55 years of age. These results may be useful in providing normative values for routine clinical use of the SSET in Sardinian subjects.


Olfactory function Odor detection threshold Odor identification Odor discrimination Sniffin’ Sticks Extended Test 



The authors thank all the participants for their availability and Dr. David Nilson for improving the English text. This work was supported by a grant from the University of Cagliari (Progetti di Ricerca di Interesse Dipartimentale, PRID 2016).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare the they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was approved by the local Ethics Committee and was performed according to the Declaration of Helsinki (2008).

Informed Consent

Participants received an explanatory statement and gave their written informed consent to participate in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section of PhysiologyUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly
  2. 2.Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria (A.O.U.)University of CagliariCagliariItaly
  3. 3.Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, Anatomy and Histology SectionUniversity of VeronaVeronaItaly
  4. 4.Movement Disorders Center, Department of NeurologyUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly
  5. 5.Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section of CytomorphologyUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly

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