According to a news release from the University of Florida, researchers have discovered that peanut butter may help detect Alzheimer’s disease.
Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student in the University of Florida McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste, realized while working with Dr. Kenneth Mailman, a professor of neurology and health psychology in the University of Florida College of Medicine’s department of neurology, that patients were not tested for their sense of smell.
The capacity to smell is linked with the first cranial nerve and is typically one of the first things to be impacted in cognitive decline.
“Dr. Heilman said, ‘If you can come up with something quick and inexpensive, we can do it,’” Stamps recalled.
She selected peanut because it is a “pure odorant” that is only identified by the olfactory nerve.
To determine a person’s sense of smell using peanut butter, a clinician held a ruler next to a tablespoon of peanut butter and moved the spoon up the ruler until the patient could identify the odor using only one nostril. The same procedure was then performed on the other nostril.