Scientists develop peanut butter test for early Alzheimer’s diagnosis

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Researchers from the University of Florida have discovered a simple, non-invasive test using peanut butter that could help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

This study, led by Jennifer J. Stamps and her team, was published in the Journal of Neurological Science and sheds light on an innovative method for early detection of AD.

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is crucial as it can help reduce disability, improve the quality of life for patients, and support clinical trials.

Previous studies have shown that the olfactory cortex, the part of the brain responsible for the sense of smell, is one of the first areas affected by Alzheimer’s.

Patients with AD often experience more degeneration in the left hemisphere of the olfactory cortex compared to the right, leading to a noticeable difference in odor detection sensitivity between the two sides.

In this study, the researchers designed a quick and straightforward olfactory test to assess this asymmetry in odor detection.

They included 18 participants with probable AD, 24 with mild cognitive impairment, 26 with other forms of dementia, and 26 healthy individuals. The test involved measuring the ability to detect the smell of peanut butter one nostril at a time.

To conduct the test, the team used a 30 cm ruler and a container holding 14 grams of peanut butter. The container was opened and held at the bottom of the ruler.

It was then moved up 1 cm at a time while the participant exhaled. The distance at which the participant detected the odor was recorded for each nostril.

The results revealed a significant difference in odor detection distance between the left and right nostrils of AD patients.

The left nostril of AD patients detected the odor at an average distance of 5.1 cm, compared to 17.4 cm for the right nostril. This discrepancy was not observed in the other groups.

These findings suggest that the peanut butter odor detection test is a sensitive and specific method for identifying probable AD. The test is not only non-invasive and inexpensive but also easy to administer, making it a practical tool for early diagnosis.

This new approach highlights the potential for using simple sensory tests to detect neurological diseases.

By understanding the specific ways in which AD affects the brain, researchers and clinicians can develop better strategies for early intervention and treatment, ultimately improving outcomes for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

If you care about Alzheimer’s, please read studies about Vitamin D deficiency linked to Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, and Oral cannabis extract may help reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about Vitamin B9 deficiency linked to higher dementia risk, and results showing flavonoid-rich foods could improve survival in Parkinson’s disease.

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