Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Smelling Alzheimer’s: Urine Odor may Trigger Early Detection

In most cases, Alzheimer's disease can be diagnosed through a series of laboratory and invasive tests in order to rule out other possible diseases that affects a suspected patient. However, a new study revealed that they have come up with a urine test that can determine whether a person is experiencing the early signs of Alzheimer's through its smell.

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A team of researchers from various health organizations and universities in the U.S has conducted a study in order to figure out if a person is already in the early stages of the illness. For their study, which has been published in a journal called Scientific Reports, the scientists studied three lab rats whose brains were genetically altered to mimic both brain and behavioral changes that were usually found in Alzheimer's patients.

After doing a series of analysis, the researchers were able to figure out that the three rats produced different urine odors that were very distinct from those who were not part of the experiment. The difference of smell might be attributed to the fact that there is a buildup on amyloid plaque, which has been previously linked to Alzheimer's disease.

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In one of the recent statements released by Dr. Bruce Kimball, a chemical ecologist with the US Department of Agriculture's National Wildlife Research Centre, previous researches have shown that changes can occur due to the viruses or vaccines injected on a person. However, their newest study was able to highlight that the smell of the urine can now be altered by changes in the brain characteristic caused by Alzheimer's.

Previous research from the USDA and Monell has focused on body odor changes due to exogenous sources such as viruses or vaccines. Now we have evidence that urinary odor signatures can be altered by changes in the brain characteristic of Alzheimer's disease," said Bruce Kimball. "This finding may also have implications for other neurologic diseases."

Dr. Daniel Wesson, a neuroscientist at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in the US, stated that since the research was able to prove a concept, the process of identifying odor changes can someday be the way of detecting whether someone is at the onset of Alzheimer's disease or not.

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Alzheimer's is said to affect 5.1 million Americans aged over 65 years. In the absence of a cure, an early diagnosis can help patients and families plan for the future as the disease progresses.

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