Scientists have just discovered the first chemical that may be able to prevent the death of brain tissue which could help cure neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
A BBC article called, Alzheimer’s breakthrough hailed as ‘turning point,’ quotes a professor who says although no cure is imminent this is the first step to delaying neurodegenerative diseases meaning they can be controlled and prevented.
Prof Roger Morris, from King’s College London, said: “This finding, I suspect, will be judged by history as a turning point in the search for medicines to control and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.”
This is great news for people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and their families because the more discoveries like this there are, the more cash will be invested into making a commercial product. We can only hope that the scientific and medical industries continue to pursue these findings and that more good news of this nature continue to surface.
In other related news about neurodegenerative diseases, researchers at the University of Florida have found a new way to test for early stages of Alzheimer’s by placing some peanut butter on the end of a ruler and having the person smell it.
Sense of smell is one of the first mental functions that starts to decline when people are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Since peanut butter is a pure odorant that can only be detected by a particular nerve, it makes for the perfect cheap, and easily-accesible test to confirm diagnosis.
How the test works is by placing about one tablespoon of peanut butter in a small bowl, then having the person being tested close both eyes and shut one nostril. They then continue to breathe in normally while the person testing them places a ruler just below the nose as shown in the image and slowly starts bringing the peanut butter closer towards the person’s nose.
As soon as the person can smell the peanut butter, mark where on the ruler they smelled it and than test the other nostril.
The scientists found that patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease had a dramatic difference in detecting odor between the left and right nostril — the left nostril was impaired and did not detect the smell until it was an average of 10 centimeters closer to the nose than the right nostril had made the detection in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This was not the case in patients with other kinds of dementia; instead, these patients had either no differences in odor detection between nostrils or the right nostril was worse at detecting odor than the left one.