Researchers have identified what could be an indicator of Alzheimer's disease that could be an aid to a diagnosis in the early stages of the disease. That would lead to non-invasive ways in monitoring the progression of the disease in patients. What is this early sign that could be giving you a clear signal that you have not taken into account? Read on and take note.
Difficulty identifying odors could be an early sign of Alzheimer's
The tests that doctors today carry out for diagnoses, are largely based on the memory factor. This is a problem because when you start to show clear signs of memory loss, this could have been going on for as long as 20 years.
Scientists at McGill University in Quebec today are looking for a way to detect Alzheimer's disease earlier, and for the first time have shown that loss of smell could be an early sign of the disease.
In a study that was published in Neurology, researchers did a study in 300 people with potential risk of Alzheimer's per family member with the same disease. Through routine and multiple-choice smell tests, they were asked to identify some odors ranging from gum or gum to gasoline.
Of those volunteers, one hundred with an average age of 63 years, also allowed to be regularly tested via lumbar puncture for proteins related to Alzheimer's disease in the spinal fluid. Lumbar puncture tests are used to follow the progress of Alzheimer's disease in patients.
Thus, these tests found that the people who had the greatest difficulty in identifying odors in the scratch-and-sniff tests were those with the most biological indications of Alzheimer's disease.
Marie-Elyse Lafaille-Magnan, author of the study, mentioned that it was the first time that someone was clearly able to show that the lack or loss of the ability to identify odors has a correlation with biological markers that are those that indicate the progress of the illness.
He also referred to the fact that, for more than 30 years, scientists have dedicated themselves to investigating the connection between memory loss and the difficulty that people may have in identifying different smells. According to her, this makes sense since it is known that the olfactory bulb (which has to do with the sense of smell) and the entorhinal cortex (which has to do with memory and naming smells) are among the first brain structures that they are first affected by Alzheimer's disease.
Smell test before other symptoms appear
So the smell test is a great way to detect the disease before other more severe symptoms appear, the researchers said, even to try to reduce them once they start.
They also mentioned that if the onset of symptoms can be delayed by just five years, this could be able to reduce the severity and prevalence of these symptoms by more than 50 percent.
The research team says there is still more to be done to reach clearer conclusions to see if the sense of smell in people with Alzheimer's diminishes as the disease progresses. However, there is hope with the further study that it is a test that could be used instead of more expensive and invasive procedures such as lumbar punctures.
However, the director of research cautioned against only using odor practices to diagnose the disease because the problems that identify odors can be indicative of other medical conditions besides Alzheimer's disease and therefore should not replace the current evidence.
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