Some like peanut butter creamy; others like it crunchy, with a little jelly, or straight out of the jar. But University of Florida Health researchers recently discovered that the classic spread could help detect early Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.
Alzheimer’s disease is perhaps most infamous for its cruel toll on thought, language and memory, but the part of the brain that processes smell, is the first area of the brain to deteriorate in Alzheimer’s.
Scientists first started researching the relationship between smell and Alzheimer’s in the 1980’s, with the hopes that odors could help with early diagnoses.
According to researchers, using peanut butter could make these tests cheaper and perhaps even more effective, as peanut butter is not a smell lost during typical aging. It also holds a unique odor, containing hundreds of types of molecules that exclusively trigger the nerves leading to the part of our brain that processes smell.
Once fully validated, the peanut butter test could provide a cheap, rapid test for Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia that affects as many as 5 million Americans.
“You need a ruler and some peanut butter, and that’s it,” said Jennifer Stamps, a neuroscientist at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL.
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