I am always fascinated by unusual and low cost diagnostic methods. Did you know that peanut butter can help diagnose Alzheimer’s? It is still in the preliminary experimental stage, but the results are tantalizing. The idea started here:
Stamps came up with the idea of using peanut butter to test for smell sensitivity while she was working with Dr. Kenneth Heilman, the James E. Rooks distinguished professor of neurology and health psychology in the UF College of Medicine’s department of neurology.
She noticed while shadowing in Heilman’s clinic that 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. Stamps also had been working in the laboratory of Linda Bartoshuk, the William P. Bushnell presidentially endowed professor in the College of Dentistry’s department of community dentistry and behavioral sciences and director of human research in the Center for Smell and Taste.
“Dr. Heilman said, ‘If you can come up with something quick and inexpensive, we can do it,’” Stamps said.
She thought of peanut butter because, she said, it is a “pure odorant” that is only detected by the olfactory nerve and is easy to access.
This is still in the early stages but keep an eye out for more development in this technique.