Research done on mice might suggest that the loss of smell may also be a good indicator of Alzheimer’s disease. The research done by scientists from the New York University School of Medicine may provide a direct link to the development of amyloid plaques in the brain known to cause Alzheimer’s disease and a decline in the sense of smell.
Alzheimer’s patients are also known to suffer from a deteriorating sense of smell. The study on mice might just show evidence on how this might come to be. Researchers have discovered that the first amyloid plaques in mice seem to develop in the part of the brain that is mainly devoted to the sense of smell. When going through the tests, the same mice seem to spend more time sniffing at odors in order to remember them or may have a hard time trying to tell the difference between odors.
According to co-author of the study, Daniel W. Wesson of the New York University School of Medicine and the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, N.Y., "What was striking in our study was that performance of the mouse in the olfactory behavior test was sensitive to even the smallest amount of amyloid presence in the brain as early as 3 months of age (equivalent to a young adult)."
"This is a revealing finding because, unlike a brain scan, a laboratory-designed olfactory test may be an inexpensive alternative to early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s," added Wesson. The findings of the study are being published on the January 13 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.