Friday, October 11, 2013

Food for Thought: Peanut Butter & Alzheimer's Disease

Hey Everyone,

Fall is definitely here if you couldn't tell from the chilly temperatures and the pumpkin themed flavors and aromas everywhere! I personally love the smell of the traditional pumpkin spices used - the cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger...all of it! Speaking of scents, did you know that patients with Alzheimer's have an altered sense of smell with their left nostril being significantly more impaired than the right!?

It turns out that the ability to smell is one of the first sense affected over the course of cognitive decline due to its association with the first cranial nerve. The University of Florida has been studying smell sensitivity using peanut butter! Generally, our sense of smell uses two distinct sensations: the olfactory sense and the trigeminal sense. Peanut butter was chosen because it is "a pure odorant that is only detected by the olfactory nerve."

Normal clinical diagnostic tests for Alzheimer's take weeks to receive confirmatory results so preliminary tests with immediate results such as the peanut butter test could be beneficial. The article describes the method used to test each individual's ability to smell peanut butter and is posted below. Check it out! It even has a short video.

Here is a link (with a video!) to the University of Florida's Newspage:

Here is a 2nd article link: