Researchers have found a simple and easy way to detect whether or not someone is developing Alzheimer’s disease. Apparently a simple sniff test using peanut butter can be used to detect whether or not someone is developing the disease. Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student at the University of Florida, realized that people who were developing Alzheimer’s lose their sense of smell prior to cognitive decline.
From conducting tests using peanut butter and a ruler, Stamps and her team found that people with Alzheimer’s had more difficulty smelling out of their left nostril when compared to their right nostril. Individuals developing dementia consistently had to have peanut butter closer to their left nostril in order to smell it.
It turns out the ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve, which is often one of the first things to be affected in Alzheimer’s. The positive news is that early detection tools such as these can help doctors treat the condition in advance, which in turn can slow down the progression of cognitive decline.
The peanut butter test is a much faster and cheaper test than others currently used, which gives this test a lot of practical potential. Stamps thought to use peanut butter because it is a “pure odorant” that is only detected by the olfactory nerve and is easy to access.