In my local paper last week my eye was caught by a startling headline:
"NOSES MAY HOLD CLUE TO DEMENTIA"
"Loss of smell may be an early indication of Alzheimer's disease, research suggests.
Scientists found that changes linked to the most common form of dementia begin in mice in an area of the brain responsible for recognising smells.
The physical symptoms coincided with impaired olfactory, or smell, function. Affected animals had to sniff odours for longer to remember them than healthy mice. They also had problems differentiating between smells....
...Reduced smelling ability in the mice was linked to the appearance of amyloid plaques - sticky lumps of protein in the brain. Daniel Wesson, from the New York University School of Medicine, said: 'What is striking in our study was that performance of the mouse in the olfactory behaviour test was sensitive to even the smallest amount of amyloid presence in the brain.'"
I have to say that this article rang immediate alarm bells with me. For Mr Bonkers has a very rudimentary sense of smell, and has HUGE difficulties distinguishing between different scents. Hence his dismissal of 90% of the perfumes to which I expose him as smelling generically of "craft shop" (meaning that vague scented candle/pot pourri/room fragrance smell you find in shops that sell jewellery, homewares, teddy bears and general fripperies aka "stuff"). The very few variations on this broad category are: "fly spray" (Jasper Conran Mister), "nice soap!" (SJP Lovely), "craft shop with the window open" (some very attenuated Giacobetti number) or "the garden at the back of the craft shop" (MH Fleurs de Bois).
So I am not saying that Mr Bonkers has no sense of smell at all, just that it is - in the vast majority of cases - a bit of a blunt instrument. So on the basis of Mr B's results in my own "olfactory behaviour tests", it might not be a bad idea to get him some puzzle books and flaxseed oil in the first instance. If he persists in rudely dissing everything from Chanel to Ormonde Jayne and Penhaligons to Parfumerie Generale as "craft shop", I may reserve the right to check out the EMI units in our area. : - )
Mr Bonkers? Not yet, I hope! Though the words "petard" and "hoist" spring worryingly to mind...