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Loss Of Smell Could Warn Of Alzheimer's Disease

A new research suggests the inability to distinguish between the smell of a lemon and petrol could point to the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. It is believed that the damage to brain is associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Loss Of Smell Could Warn Of Alzheimer's Disease

Loss of smell could warn of Alzheimer's disease

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Loss of smell could point to the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease
  2. Scientists are interested in finding ways to detect the disease early on
  3. The ability to identify smell is correlated with biological markers
A new research suggests the inability to distinguish between the smell of a lemon and petrol could warn of developing Alzheimer's disease. It is believed that the damage to brain is associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD). It occurs up to 20 years before symptoms start showing. Scientists are therefore interested in finding ways to detect the presence of the disease early on. Scientists now believe that simple odour identification tests may help track the progression of the disease before symptoms actually appear, particularly among those at risk.

John Breitner from Mc Gill University said "Despite all the research in the area, no effective treatment has yet been found for AD."

He added "But, if we can delay the onset of symptoms by just five years, we should be able to reduce the prevalence and severity of these symptoms by more than 50 per cent."

Around 300 people with an average age of 63 who were at a risk of developing AD because they had a parent who had suffered from the disease. They were asked to take multiple choice scratch-and-sniff tests to identify scents as varied as bubble gum, gasoline or the smell of a lemon.

One hundred of them also volunteered to have regular lumbar punctures to measure the quantities of various AD-related proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

Marie- Elyse Lafaille-Magnan, PhD student at Mc Gill University said "This is the first time that anyone has been able to show clearly that the loss of the ability to identify smells is correlated with biological markers indicating the advance of the disease."

She further added "For more than 30 years, scientists have been exploring the connection between memory loss and the difficulty that patients may have in identifying different odours."

"This makes sense because it is known that the olfactory bulb (involved with the sense of smell) and the entorhinal cortex (involved with memory and naming of odours) are among the first brain structures first to be affected by the disease," she added.


With Inputs from PTI



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