Health

A New Diagnostic Test for Alzheimer's is More than a Wee Bit Nutty

Smelling peanut butter may soon become the go-to method for determining whether a patient suffers from the heartbreaking condition

Forget the fabled Skippy vs. Jif vs. Peter Pan peanut butter wars. When it comes to a new way to diagnose patients who may potentially have Alzheimer's, brand is of zero import -- here, the peanuts themselves do the talking.

Sounding farcical enough to seem like something straight out of The Onion, a new study reveals that because the olfactory lobe is one of the first things to go when the body contends with degenerative brain diseases, smelling peanut butter is an effective way to diagnose them -- particularly Alzheimer's.

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After conducting controlled experiments with patients suffering from varying forms of cognitive impairment wherein they were instructed to smell peanut butter from various distances and through alternating nostrils, Researchers from University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste, were able to ascertain that "patients with early-stage Alzheimer's had much more difficulty smelling the aroma, particularly through their left nostril, than those without the disease." (Curious as to how the testing was conducted? Watch the surprisingly informative video below.)

What's so exciting about these findings, aside from the simplicity of having someone just having to take a whiff, is how wallet-friendly the procedure is. Other diagnostic tests are time consuming, invasive, exhausting and expensive -- so expensive that often times patients opt out of them, delaying their diagnosis and the imperative care they require.

"At the moment," says lead researcher Jennifer Stamps in a statement, "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."



READ: The Great Peanut Butter Recall: What You Need to Know

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