Cheap alzheimer’s test made from peanut butter and ruler, researchers report – cbs news

Alzheimer’s disease is difficult to diagnose before symptoms start showing up, because there is no single test that can definitively determine whether a person has the degenerative brain disease.

That’s what researchers at the University of Florida’s McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste are hoping. Meaning alzheimer disease They found patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease had more difficulty smelling peanut butter held at short distances from their nose than people without the disease.

“At the moment, we can use this test to confirm diagnosis,” graduate student Jennifer Stamps, who led the research, said in a statement.

Information about alzheimer’s disease “But we plan to study patients with mild cognitive impairment to see if this test might be used to predict which patients are going to get Alzheimer’s disease.”

About 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, with about 13.8 million cases expected by 2050. Symptoms of early onset alzheimer’s disease The disease is marked by declines in cognitive function and memory skills, and people aren’t typically diagnosed until they take mental status exams or doctors rule out other diseases that cause dementia-like symptoms.

Stamps was under the tutelage of Dr. 10 early signs and symptoms of alzheimer disease Kenneth Heilman, a distinguished professor of neurology, when she noticed his patients had not been tested for their sense of smell. Effects of alzheimer disease on the family According to the graduate student’s research, the ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve — a set of nerves on the brain’s surface — called the “olfactory nerve.” The olfactory nerve is often one of the first things to be affected in cognitive decline, even before memory loss, she pointed out.

For the study, researchers took a tablespoon of peanut butter and a metric ruler, and asked more than 90 people with either mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s, other forms of dementia or no neurological problems, to close their eyes and mouth, and block one nostril. Alzheimer disease and dementia journal impact factor The researchers then moved a peanut butter container one centimeter at a time up the ruler until the patient could detect the odor. Alzheimer’s disease cure The experiment was repeated again 90 seconds later with the other nostril.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition that’s characterized by memory loss and cognitive declines beyond what’s expected from normal aging, but the declines don’t impact daily functioning unlike dementia, according to the University of California, San Francisco Memory and Aging Center. Medical definition alzheimer disease Not everyone with MCI will go on to develop Alzheimer’s, though they are at an increased risk. Alzheimer’s disease define But at this time, doctors can’t tell who with MCI will go on to develop Alzheimer’s.

The study showed all 18 patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s had trouble smelling the peanut butter with their left nostril until it was an average of 10 centimeters closer to their nose than their test with the right nostril. Alzheimer’s disease society Patients at the clinic who had other forms of non-Alzheimer’s dementia did not show this discrepancy in smelling ability, or had a worse right nostril than the left.

Of the 24 patients with MCI, 10 had left nostril impairment and 14 did not, which suggests the former group might go on to develop Alzheimer’s. Cure for alzheimer’s disease The researchers warned more studies are needed to fully understand the implications.

But, the University of Florida plans to add the peanut butter test to its arsenal to help distinguish Alzheimer’s from other memory disorders, according to the statement.

“If we can catch it at that earlier stage, we can start treatment more aggressively at that earlier stage, and you can prevent a lot of the progression,” added Stamps in a YouTube video explaining her study.

Northwestern University researchers reported in August that testing subjects with 20 black and white pictures of famous people including John F. Dementia alzheimer’s disease Kennedy and Bill Clinton may provide clues into dementia risk. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by People with early-onset dementia, as confirmed by loss of brain tissue seen on MRI scans, scored an average of 79 percent on the test when people without dementia scored nearly 100 percent.