Peanut Butter Can Help Diagnose Early Stages of Alzheimer's

Earlier this week the internet was in a frenzy about the news that champagne can help aid the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's. Now another culinary tool is helping researchers diagnose Alzheimer's in its very early stages. According to a study published in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences, a dollop of peanut butter can indicate whether patients are experiencing early stages of dementia based on their sense of smell.

See Also - Omega-3s Could Help Protect the Brain From Alzheimer's Disease

Researchers at the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste found that by placing a tablespoon of peanut butter on a ruler, they could identify early stages of Alzheimer's by studying the subjects' ability to detect its odor at different distances. This is because the ability to smell is linked to the first cranial nerve and its impediment is one of the first signs of cognitive decline.

The researcher responsible for choosing peanut butter, graduate student Jennifer Stamps, said that the nutty spread was an ideal pick because it is a "pure odorant," which means it is solely detected by the olfactory nerve (the collection of sensory receptors in your sinuses responsible for picking up on odors). Plus, it's inexpensive and easy to access.

Patients who participated were told to close their eyes, block one nostril, and breath normally while a clinician slowly moved the peanut butter up the ruler one centimeter at a time until the patient was able to detect the odor. The distance was recorded and then repeated again using the other nostril — after a 90-second break.

The results reveal that, in patients with Alzheimer's disease, the left nostril was impaired and did not pick on the scent until it was an average of 10 centimeters closer to the nose than the 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 explained to the University of Florida's monthly news magazine The Post.

She also points out that this test could be used by hospitals and clinics that have limited or no access to the personnel or equipment to run more elaborate tests that yield a specific diagnosis and therefore lead to targeted treatment.

"If we can catch it at that early stage, we can start treatment more aggressively at the early stage," she said. "And you can possibly prevent a lot of the progression."
From: Delish 
Photo By Getty 

Post a Comment