Alzheimer’s stinks, but its victims don’t know this because one of the earliest indications that a patient is coming down with this dread disease is loss of the sense of smell. If we learn how to reverse this, we may learn how to REVERSE the disease in the future!
Smell loss can be caused by a number of ailments, exposures and injuries; but since the 1970s, it has been identified as an early sign of this disease. Researchers have found a way to restore this in mice by removing a plaque-forming protein in their brains. Will they be able to reverse the entire disease soon?
A protein called amyloid beta causes the loss. Neuroscientist Daniel Wesson says, "The evidence indicates we can use the sense of smell to determine if someone may get Alzheimer’s disease, and use changes in sense of smell to begin treatments, instead of waiting until someone has issues learning and remembering. We can also use smell to see if therapies are working. Understanding smell loss, we think, will hold some clues about how to slow down this disease."
There is currently no effective treatment or cure for the disease, marked by eroding senses, cognition and coordination, leading to death. Currently 5.3 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s and the number is expected to triple to 16 million in the future.
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