Peanut Butter & Alzheimer's


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My great-grandfather had Alzheimer's disease, I worked in a nursing home and cared for people with Alzheimer's and my sorority's philanthropy is Alzheimer's Research. The disease is obviously very prevalent in my life. 

Alzheimer's Disease is a type of dementia that causes memory lapses and changes thinking and behavior in individuals with the disease. This disease ultimately eats away at the brain of the patient and there is no cure.  The disease usually sets in around the age of 65 or older, but there are cases that show symptoms of the disease at a much earlier age. 

The University of Florida Health Department conducted a study to help confirm early-on set Alzheimer's in patients. This is where the peanut butter comes in. Testing Alzheimer's patients with peanut butter: weird, right?

Not really. The first sense to lose its power in people struggling with Alzheimer's is the olfactory sense, or the sense of smell. The study chose to run tests with peanut butter because it is a "pure odorant." So it makes sense that in order to predict a cognitive decline, a test that measures sense of smell is ideal. 

The study was conducted on patients who were already coming to the clinic for testing either for the disease or otherwise. The clinician and the patient sat down with a ruler and a tablespoon of peanut butter. The article reads, "The patient closed his or her eyes and mouth and blocked one nostril. The clinician opened the peanut butter container and held the ruler next to the open nostril while the patient breathed normally. The clinician then moved the peanut butter up the ruler one centimeter at a time during the patient's exhale until the person could detect an odor." The process was then done on the other nostril. The clinician was unaware of the results of the patient's other testing results for the disease. 

The study found that patients with early on-set Alzheimer's have more difficulty smelling the peanut butter in the left nostril rather than the right, and found this to be rare to only Alzheimer's and not other types of dementia. The researchers also noted that they need to do more studies on the peanut butter test, but as for now, the test can be done in clinics where advanced testing is not found or where there is not enough personnel. 

Check out this startling video for Alzheimer's Awareness. 

What advanced Alzheimer's does to the brain:

3 Comments

I read about this because "peanut butter" caught my eye and that's really interesting! I looked at another website that talked about possible genes that can detect it to be more likely for someone to get alzheimer's too if you want to check it out!

http://www.alz.org/national/documents/topicsheet_genetictesting.pdf

This is such a horrible disease and is not only hard on the person but the family as well. I thought it was really interesting to know that peanut butter helped to determine if someone has Alzheimers. I never really thought about smell being one of the senses to go first but it now makes sense to use peanut butter as a step to determine if someone has the beginning stages of the disease or not. I found some websites that have other ways to determine if a person has Alzheimers or the beginning stages of it http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers-disease/DS00161/DSECTION=tests%2Dand%2Ddiagnosis and that gives the symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers-disease/DS00161/DSECTION=symptoms .

Alzheimers is such an upsetting disease to think about and it seems to be everywhere. Many of us have grandparents or older relatives that suffer from this terrible disease. I find the peanut butter experiment to be interesting and quite creative. It is a good start to figuring out where Altzheimer's originates and hopefully we will one day find a cure. At this point, scientists are still looking for a cure. I was unsure as to how far along scientists were regarding Altzheimer's research but after reading this link (http://www.alz.org/research/science/alzheimers_research.asp) I feel more educated on it.

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