Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Do You Have Alzheimer's? Your Nose Knows

news you may not know


Ah...

Makes Me

Think Of Home...



It was Saturday mornings "back in the day" and you had just turned eight. You remember the thrill of waking up in a panic, thinking you were late for school, and then - Ah... sweet relief, as the wonder of the weekend swept over you like a breaking ocean wave, plummeting you deep into your pillow for a few more dreams of long summer days, picnics in the park and the nighttime dances of flickering fireflies.

Then, in the best wake up call known to man, you'd catch a faint hint of aroma drifting up from the kitchen. With one eye now peeking at the world beyond the covers, you'd roll over and concentrate all your energy on the olfactory - a long, lung-filling breath and, yes! Bacon and eggs, maybe some waffles as well, you knew there'd be orange juice, and toast and jam, and maybe...

Your nose drawing you along, you'd stumble from bed and make a beeline for the kitchen and the start of a perfect Saturday morning. Life just didn't get any better...

The smell of bacon and eggs still brings those great memories back to life. Or, at least, they did. Lately, you just can't quit place the aromas like you used to. And, when the aromas started to disappear, so did the memories.

Can our sense of smell really indicate if we have Alzheimer's disease?

Recent studies reported by Rush University Medical Center indicate the loss of olfactory abilities may be predictive of Alzheimer's disease. The study utilized a 12-item Brief Smell Identification Test (SID) to assess the olfactory abilities of study participants. The SID assesses the ability to identify twelve familiar aromas, including banana, chocolate, cinnamon, gasoline, lemon and onion.

Researchers postulate the loss of smell is associated with the buildup of "tangles" within the brain, which typically appear in the early stages of Alzheimer's. Interestingly, the loss of smell is also associated with other disease processes, including Parkinson's and Schizophrenia.

Should you be alarmed if your sense of smell is diminishing? Well, first - try some nasal spray. You may quickly find your zest for both breakfast and the act of reminiscing has returned. If not, then - maybe. Though the research is ongoing, it appears the earliest indicator of Alzheimer's may be as close as, well, the nose on your face...

To learn more about Alzheimer's disease, including symptoms and treatments, see this from the Alzheimer's Association.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Matt Keegan said...

That's a relief! Here I thought that I was "losing it" when all I had was a bad case of sinusitis.

Now if I can only remember where I put the Nasonex...

11:55 AM  
Blogger Devon Ellington said...

That's very interesting and important information, thank you.

I find that my senses of smell and taste are very closely aligned, too.

1:26 PM  
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