Research in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that loss of smell be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease.
People with Alzheimer’s are already known to suffer from loss of smell. But the new research pinpoints a direct link between development of amyloid plaques and a worsening sense of smell. The mice tested with the plaques had to spend more time sniffing odors to remember them, and they had a hard time telling the difference between odors.
“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,” said study co-author Daniel W. Wesson, of New York University School of Medicine and the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, N.Y.