Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative illness that affects not just the person itself, but even other people close to him. Alzheimer's is a severe form of dementia that makes a person lose his identity so much that it alters relationships within a family. Early detection of Alzheimer's is crucial to lessening or slowing its progress. A smell test can diagnose Alzheimer's early on, study shows.
One of the senses affected by dementia is the sense of smell. This decline could be noticed even long before dementia has set in. For those who might be at risk with Alzheimer's, this might help in getting treatment early on to slow down the progress of the disease.
The study is made by David R. Roalf, principal investigator for the study and an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. For the study, the researchers used the Sniffin' Sticks Odor Identification Test to 728 people. The test lets people identify 16 different scents. The test has been done along with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment test.
Prior to the study, the participants have already been evaluated by doctors at the university. The participants were then put into one of three categories. These categories are healthy older adult, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's dementia. The participants then were placed into the study and were given the tests.
For the study, the participants were first tested using the MCA test, then the MCA was combined with the sniffing test, according to Penn Medicine News. Results have been more accurate when the smell test was added to the MCA test. The combined tests have a higher degree of accuracy in determining the conditions of the participants.
Earlier studies have shown that dementia can be identified early once the sense of smell weakens. The use of the smell test is already being done by larger dementia clinics, as Science Daily reports. Roalf wants the smell test to have a lesser time in administering them so that more clinics would be able to use it. He is also planning to investigate protein markers that affect the olfactory region of the brain long before dementia occurs.
Knowing if a person is at risk of Alzheimer's can help in getting treatment sooner. A smell test can diagnose Alzheimer's early on. A study also notes that visiting a female doctor might be good for the health.