McGill University researchers have discovered a specific and new symptom of Dementia and Alzheimer's disease. This allows early detection of the disease and enables the victims to prepare before the condition affects their daily lives.

Dementia new symptom revealed

A journal published in Neurology revealed that researchers from McGill University in Canada had conducted a study that correlates the ability to Smell and early signs of Dementia. Researcher Marie-Elyse Lafaille-Magnan explained that scientists have been exploring the link between memory loss and difficulty in identifying different odors for more than 30 years already.

However, early signs and causes of these conditions remain unknown.

The initial signs of Dementia have been linked to confusion and memory loss while driving. There are ways to prevent the disease. However, identifying its symptoms is an entirely different story. The study suggests that the difficulty of distinguishing between gasoline and bubble gum scents is a new way to detect dementia and Alzheimer’s disease years before it affects its victim. This is because the illness begins with damage to the olfactory neurons that are involved in distinguishing different scents.

The researchers conducted the study by recruiting 300 people who have dementia in their family history. The participants were asked to take a sniff test to identify the scent of bubblegum, lemon, and gasoline.

Some of the participants also agreed to undergo a procedure that involves extraction of Cerebrospinal fluid through lumbar puncture. This test is used to detect the quantities of the AD-related proteins that serve as biomarkers of the disease.

The result of the study shows that the participants who have difficulty in distinguishing odors include those who display other indicators of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Moreover, Marie-Elyse Lafaille-Magnan, the lead author, said that it was the first time that there is substantial evidence that proves the link between illness and the ability of smell.

Marie-Elyse further explained that both olfactory bulb, a neutral structure that is responsible for the sense of smell, and entorhinal cortex, an area of the brain that accounts for remembering and naming odors, are the first part of the brain that will be affected by the disease.

New research can reverse memory loss

A report published in Reader’s digest also revealed that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT researchers claimed that they have successfully shifted the memory loss of the mice. They did this through blocking HDAC2 which is an enzyme that interferes those memory-associated genes.

The researchers explained that memory loss in Alzheimer’s patient start when the enzyme HDAC2 creates a particular blockade that eventually shuts down the brain’s memory genes. The barrier causes the person to forget quickly and hinders the formation of the individual’s memory.

Li- Huei Tsai, the lead author, said that it was the first time that they found a particular mechanism that is responsible for the disease. She also said that by reducing the enzymes, medical personnel can now restore the patient’s genes that are necessary for learning and memory.