Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Early Diagnosis Test for Alzheimer's Include Peanut Butter and a Ruler


University of Florida Says More Testing Needed, but Simple, Inexpensive Test Works

In a recent post, we tried to sort out some of the myths surrounding Alzheimer's, especially as those misunderstandings apply to other forms of dementia or, in some cases, just normal old absent mindedness.

One thing that isn't a myth:  Doctors have very few reliable ways to determine who has Alzheimer's early in the progression of the disease.  It is this very inability that leads to care givers and loved one's trying to second guess which lapses are normal and which are evidence of the early stages of the dreaded Alzheimer's diseases.

Now enter a small study conducted by the UofF as reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A plop of peanut butter on the end of a ruler could be the key to an early Alzheimer's diagnosis, claims new research coming out of the University of Florida. 
Graduate student Jennifer Stamps reported her group's findings from a small study in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences.
The university reported that she came up with the idea of using peanut butter to test the smell sensitivity after noticing that patients were not tested for sense of smell.  The ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve, often one of the first nerves affected in cognitive decline. 
But why peanut butter?  Stamps said it's a "pure odorant" that is only detected by the olfactory nerve, and peanut butter is easy to get.
Click here to read the complete report.  
While the various reporting on this test concludes that more testing is needed to confirm this small effort, the results are very promising.  Most articles also advise against using this test as a home diagnosis tool, no matter how tempting. 

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