Have you ever considered that your nose and your memory are linked? According to the latest studies made by a group of researchers at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, your memory and nose go hand in hand. Lead researcher Rosebud Roberts reports that losing your sense of smell may indicate Alzheimer’s.
The study was made on over 1,400 mentally healthy adults around the age of 79. Doctors use the “Peanut Butter Test” in order to see whether a person is prone to Alzheimer’s or not. Who would have known that peanut butter could be such a tiebreaker? If the patient participating in the study cannot smell the scent of this sweet, they are more likely to develop the disease early in life.
However, if patients already had some memory problems, losing their sense of smell shows that their disease will probably develop more rapidly. On the other hand, if patients already had problems with their sense of smell, because of chronic respiratory conditions, then the findings of this study do not apply to them.
Now, getting back to our first question: What is the connection between losing your sense of smell and losing your memory? Scientists say that the parts of the brain that distinguish smells will start to fail more or less at the same time as dementia begins, or the other way around: when you start losing your ability to differentiate odors, the probability of developing memory problems and Alzheimer’s increase.
Rosebud Roberts, the lead researcher of the study hopes the findings will be a mind opener and the “smell test” will be used in the future to help discover memory problems early on, as she thinks: that the smell test will help identify elderly people who are still healthy but might develop memory problems or Alzheimer’s dementia.
Moreover, one of the Alzheimer’s Association director James Hendrix, considers that the findings may indicate not only a link between smell and memory, but between smell and neurodegenerative diseases in general. However, a simple test of smell cannot be a completely reliable tool for diagnosis and it will have to be followed by other tests, in order to determine the exact condition, whether it is Alzheimer’s or Parkinson or another disease.
All in all, researchers have made a small but important step forward on dealing with neurological problems by using only a simple smell test. Who knows what they will come up with next?
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