The next time you’re in your neighborhood supermarket, it may be a good idea to pick up your favorite brand of peanut butter, either creamy or crunchy.
You can enjoy it for a late afternoon snack along with perhaps your favorite brand of Jelly — and oh yes don’t forget to test yourself for Alzheimer’s disease while you’re at it!
The idea of being able to test yourself for Alzheimer’s using a smear of ordinary peanut butter sounds preposterous, something conjured up by adolescent pranksters…
But alas it’s true, or at least it appeared true in a study conducted back in 2013 when researchers caused a sensation within the scientific and medical communities discovered a possible game-changer in Alzheimer’s disease research.
Since that groundbreaking discovery was first announced just over 5-years ago various media outlets, including the Washington Post, have revisited this simple method of diagnosing Alzheimer’s, to see if it really works or not.
The simple procedure dubbed “the peanut butter test” requires the individual to smell peanut butter alternately with the left and right nostril while the other one is held closed.
The patient starts sniffing at a distance of 30 centimeters. The distance is then reduced in one-centimeter steps until the patient is able to smell the product.
The study conducted in 2013 found that individuals suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s have a significantly lower ability in smelling the peanut butter with their left nostril compared to their right nostril.
Researchers have attributed this to the fact that the left half side of the brain known as the frontal lobe is affected more by Alzheimer’s disease. This area also contains the sense of smell.
However, researches of Geriatrics at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, have surmised that the research conducted in 2013 may have been flawed.
Professor Richard Dodel contends, “This study was carried out with too few test subjects and the procedure was not sufficiently standardized.”
For example the study had too few subjects, just 92 individuals, moreover lacking basic critical data, such as the brand of peanut butter used for the test.
Adding, “The composition of oils can make a big difference in perception,” explains Dodel. The professor also speculated that a number of possibilities can cause a brief limited sense of smell.
A second test was undertaken in 2014 by another group of researches attempting to duplicate the 2013 findings, however without success.
According to Dodel, the so-called amyloid PET (positron emission tomography) can detect certain protein fragments, the so-called plaques, in the brain, that’s responsible for Alzheimer’s 15 to 20 years before the first clinical symptoms.
There’s currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Dodel recommends preventive measures for young individuals, such as educating themselves on the risk factors which can reduce the development of Alzheimer’s by up to 8%.
Head injury: There is a link between head injury and future risk of dementia. The easiest way to protect any injury to the brain is to buckle up your seat belt when driving or as a passenger, wearing a helmet when riding a bike or participating in any sports, and “fall-proofing” your home.
Heart-head connection: Some of the strongest evidence linking heart health with Alzheimer’s is the connection between good blood flows within blood vessels throughout the body and brain.
Other risk factors such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, may also be risk factors.
Dr. Dodel recommends dancing as an excellent way of combating Alzheimer’s disease stating “Exercise is also a major factor.”
Adding “But tango is better than waltzing. Because at some point you can do the waltz unconsciously, but with Tango, you always have to think about complicated steps.”