Decreased ability to identify specific odors can predict abnormal neuroimaging results in blast-injured troops, according to a new study by Federal researchers released online in the journal Neurology, March 18, 2015.

The olfactory system processes thousands of different odors, sending signals to the brain which interprets the smell by linking it to a past memory. If memory is impaired, as is the case with Alzheimer’s disease, sleep deprivation, and acute traumatic brain injury, the task is not entirely possible. When the smell test was abnormal in a subject, those soldiers were all found to have abnormalities on their brain scans.

In the field, the battlefield, determining if an injured soldier sustains brain injury in explosive events, blast injuries, is predictive of what more involved tests requiring medical equipment in a medical setting, reveal later.  Taking care of veterans should be a government concern.