What Peanut Butter Has to Do with Alzheimer's
Researchers at the University of Florida were able to use a basic jar of peanut butter to determine if patients’ cognitive impairment was due to early stages of Alzheimer’s disease according to a recent report on a study they originally conducted back in 2013.
Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student, discovered the technique. She was surprised to see that patients weren’t being tested for their sense of smell. According to Medical News Today, the first cranial nerve, which is often affected early on during cognitive decline, also controls smell – making it an interesting way to test for impairment.
Choosing peanut butter because it is considered a “pure odorant” that is, one only detected by the olfactory nerve, doctors tested patients sense of smell by simply using a ruler to determine how far away a sample of peanut butter was from each nostril before it was recognized.
Interestingly, unlike other patients, those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s had far greater impairment in their left nostril than in their right nostril. “At the moment, we can use this test to confirm diagnosis. 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,” Stamps said. More tests are needed, but the researchers hope this method could eventually result in a non-invasive test for determining a person’s likeliness of developing the disease.
Good luck topping that, jelly!
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