A bit of peanut butter and a ruler may be an easy way confirm a diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer's disease, U.S. researchers say.
Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student at the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste, and colleagues found peanut butter worked well to test for smell sensitivity.
Stamps was shadowing at the clinic of Dr. Kenneth Heilman, the James E. Rooks distinguished professor of neurology and health psychology in the University of Florida's College of Medicine, and asked why patients were not tested for their sense of smell.
The ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve and is often one of the first things to be affected in cognitive decline.
The researchers had the patients sniff a bit of peanut butter with each nostril while the opposite nostril was closed. They used a ruler to measure the point at which people detected the smell of the peanut butter.