The Secret Diagnoses of Alzheimer’s Disease – Smelling?
Article by Alex Jensen
Alzheimer’s Disease is a vicious form of dementia that leaves a person unable to process certain functions and recall many things. Doctors are now learning that a scratch and sniff test might be able to predict its onset.
What exactly is Alzheimer’s Disease? It is a brain disease discovered in 1906 by Alois Alzheimer, with his name obviously being applied to the disease. If he was alive, one would wonder if he would really be happy about that! Regardless, the disease wasn’t really noted as significant for much of the 20th century. Whether this was due to incorrect diagnosis or it occurring less often is unknown.
In the last twenty five years, Alzheimer’s has moved the front of the list of elder brain disease problems. Roughly 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with it. It is a fatal and the 6th most common cause of death in the country these days.
The methodology of Alzheimer’s is not entirely clear. What is known is the brain is made up of billions of tiny cells. Each cell has a number of functioning parts like a factory. Certain elements break down with Alzheimer’s, which results in the entire cell closing down. When enough cells fail, a person experiences dementia in a variety of forms including memory loss and physical control issues.
As big a problem as Alzheimer’s is today, it really has only received serious attention from medical researches in the last ten to fifteen years. This means our level of knowledge regarding the disease is somewhat stunted. It also means we are learning new things all the time such as the latest relationship cue to smelling.
Some of the earliest research on Alzheimer’s revealed an interesting thing. The first brain damage that appeared tended to occur in the area of the brain responsible for smell. Given that fact, one could surmise that the result of the damage would be a reduced sense of smell to all things or a loss of the ability to smell certain things. Well, new studies are revealing that the inability to smell certain things is a definite precursor to Alzheimer’s.
So, does losing your sense of smell for something mean that you have an early onset of the disease? Not necessarily. There are many different reasons our sense of smell can change. Still, it should be a warning and you should see a neurologist immediately. In the future, smell tests should be developed that will make the process easier to understand.
Alex Jensen is with OrangeCountyCarePlacement.com – a free orange county assisted living placement service for seniors.
A breakthrough in sensing at Rice University promises to make finding signs of Alzheimer’s disease nearly as efficient as switching on a light. The lab of Rice bioengineer Angel Martí is testing metallic molecules that naturally attach themselves to beta amyloid fibrills, which form plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers. When molecules, complexes of dipyridophenazine ruthenium, latch onto amyloid fibrills, their photoluminescence increases 50-fold.
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