Alzheimer’s disease is difficult to diagnose in its early stages, but researchers have discovered that peanut butter may be a game changer when it comes to detecting it. At the University of Florida’s McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste, they found patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease had more difficulty smelling peanut butter held at short distances from their nose than people without the disease.
An estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and almost two-thirds of American seniors living with Alzheimer’s are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. So this latest peanut butter test may provide a cheap and promising test in detecting the disease.
According to the pilot study, the ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve and is often one of the first things to be affected in cognitive decline. So in the test, the participants sniffed a little peanut butter one nostril at a time. The clinicians then measured the distance at which patients can detect the smell.
Results determined that all 18 patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s had trouble smelling the peanut butter with their left nostril until it was an average of 10 centimeters closer to their nose than their test with the right nostril. Researchers advise not trying this at home, admitting there is still much more testing that needs to be determined if the sniff test can be used to actually diagnose Alzheimer’s.