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A Quick Peanut Butter Test for Alzheimer’s Disease

Peanut butter again tempts researchers who seek medical insight:

A brief olfactory test for Alzheimer’s disease,” Jennifer J. Stamps, Linda M. Bartoshuk, Kenneth M. Heilman, Journal of the Neurological Sciences, vol. 333, 2013, pp. 19–24. (Thanks to investigator Holly Brothers for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Florida, explain:

Peanut-Butter-earth“Methods. Participants with probable AD [Alzheimer’s Disease] (N = 18), mild cognitive impairment (MCI, N = 24), other causes of dementia (OD, N = 26) and matched controls (OC, N = 26) were tested, with closed eyes, for their ability to detect an odor, one nostril at a time. A container of 14 g of peanut butter was opened, held medially at the bottom of a 30 cm ruler, and moved up 1 cm at a time during the participants’ exhale. Upon odor detection, the distance between the subject’s nostril and container was measured.

“Results. The mean odor detection distance of AD patients’ left nostril (5.1 cm), and not their right (17.4 cm), was significantly less (F(3,90) = 22.28, p < 0.0001) than the other groups….

“Conclusion. This non-invasive and inexpensive left–right nostril odor detection test appears to be a sensitive and specific test for probable AD.”

BONUS (unrelated): “The Effects of Peanut Butter on the Rotation of the Earth

Improbable Research