Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Loss of smell function may predict early onset of Alzheimer's disease

Date:
January 13, 2010
Source:
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Summary:
A new study links a loss of smell function in Alzheimer's disease model animals with amyloid (protein) accumulation in the brain, a distinguishing hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. New research suggests that olfactory dysfunction, a common symptom of AD, may serve as an early diagnostic tool for the disease.

A study published in the January 13, 2010 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience links a loss of smell function in Alzheimer's disease (AD) model animals with amyloid  (protein) accumulation in the brain, a distinguishing hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Research conducted by NYU Langone Medical Center suggests that olfactory dysfunction, a common symptom of AD, may serve as an early diagnostic tool for the disease.

The formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles are believed to contribute to the degradation of the neurons in the brain and the subsequent symptoms of AD. In this newly published study, NYU Langone scientists used genetically engineered mice, which developed amyloids in their brains, reflecting a progressive Alzheimer's disease pathology similar to humans. They found that Alzheimer's disease amyloid pathology occurs first in a region of the mouse brain responsible for smelling -- which is directly above their noses. This pathology also coincided with the animals having abnormal abilities to smell. The mice with a high concentration of amyloid in their brains had to sniff odors longer to "learn" them than mice with less amyloid. They also had problems differentiating between odors.

As the article in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests, since the behavioral symptoms of AD often occur early in life, it is possible that this new olfactory method, looking at olfactory perception across multiple presentations of the same odor, may be advantageous in early detection of Alzheimer's -- prior to substantial degeneration of the brain.

"What was striking in our study, was that performance of the mouse in the olfactory behavior test was sensitive to even the smallest amount of amyloid presence in the brain as early as three months of age (equivalent to a young adult). This is a revealing finding because unlike a brain scan, a laboratory-designed olfactory test may be an inexpensive alternative to early diagnosis of Alzheimer's," noted co-author of the project, Daniel W. Wesson, PhD, of the NYU School of Medicine and the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, New York. Presently, much scientific interest exists in establishing methods to diagnose Alzheimer's prior to the irreversible deterioration of the brain characteristic of the disease.

"These novel results provide a two-fold benefit, not only in confirming that olfactory problems may serve as an early indicator of Alzheimer's, but that further validation in humans could facilitate testing of new therapies for the disease," remarked study co-author Ralph A. Nixon, MD, PhD, Director of the Center of Excellence on Brain Aging at NYU Langone Medical Center and professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Cell Biology.

The study was also co-authored by Donald A. Wilson, PhD, professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Efrat Levy, PhD, associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at NYU Langone Medical Center. All researchers are affiliated with the Center of Excellence on Brain Aging at NYU Langone and the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, a facility of the New York State Office of Mental Health.

Funding for the study was provided by grants from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland and the Alzheimer's Association.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. "Loss of smell function may predict early onset of Alzheimer's disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112171803.htm>.
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. (2010, January 13). Loss of smell function may predict early onset of Alzheimer's disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112171803.htm
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. "Loss of smell function may predict early onset of Alzheimer's disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112171803.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins