New Alzheimer's Test Offers Cheap, Accurate Results
- Groundbreaking new Alzheimer’s research gets good results without invasive procedures
- Discover how bad-tasting food inspired researchers to design this simple test
- Leave hefty medical bills behind! This test can give you valuable results with a tiny price tag. Find out more…
Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
What’s that smell?
If you answered chocolate, coffee or cinnamon, then your brain may be in good shape.
You see, a new study done by Columbia University Medical Center shows that medical professionals could one day screen patients for Alzheimer’s through smell tests.
To be more exact, the ability to identify familiar smells like the ones listed above is a sign of a healthy brain.
In contrast, research shows that folks who are 60 years or older and unable to identify common smells in an odor detection test are more likely to already be experiencing memory and thinking problems or will eventually develop them.
And the results are shockingly accurate, noninvasive and, best of all, cheap.
Scratch ’N’ Sniff
Current testing methods for the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s include PET scans and spinal taps. Not only are these tests uncomfortable, but they can also be very expensive, due to the fact they often aren’t covered by insurance.
But this new test, called the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test, or UPSIT, may change that.
According to Columbia neurologist Dr. William Kreisl, “The whole idea is to create tests that a general clinician can use in an office setting. It’s basically a set of cards. And each card has a little scratch-and-sniff test on it.”
The cards have familiar odors like licorice, coffee, chocolate and cinnamon.
The data from the study indicate that folks who aren’t able to identify the odors are three times more likely to experience memory issues than others.
But even more amazing — this simple sniff test “was able to predict memory decline in older adults about as well as the PET scan or spinal tap,” reports Kreisl.
The test was inspired in part by a common patient complaint observed by doctors — bad-tasting food. Alzheimer’s patients often complain that food doesn’t taste good. This is due to the fact that these patients have lost the ability to smell their food.
Kreisl says this isn’t surprising since odors from the nose are processed in a portion of the brain that is first to fall victim to Alzheimer’s.
While these tests have proven themselves to be helpful tools, they aren’t perfect yet. Other brain disorders can also affect your sense of smell: things like smoking, normal aging and head injuries.
But in most cases, this new sniff test will offer a cheaper and more comfortable diagnosis.
“The UPSIT can be performed in an office setting very easily, takes about 20 minutes to perform, it’s a 40-item test, costs $20 to buy the kit,” Kreisl explained.
To further their research, doctors hope to follow volunteers without dementia to see how early the sniff test can predict the onset of Alzheimer’s.
As of now, it seems the sniff test is still in its developmental stages and not widely available. However, with further research, this tool may one day be the easiest and most affordable diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily
Written By Natalie Moore
Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.
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