Testing smell sensitivity with peanut butter could potentially confirm a diagnosis of early stage Alzheimer’s disease, according to research from the McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste and the University of Florida.
The sense of smell is associated with the first cranial nerve, which is one of the first parts of the brain affected in cognitive decline. Peanut butter is a “pure odorant”, which means that it is only detected by the olfactory nerve and is easy to access.
The test involves blindfolding the patient, blocking one nostril, while the patient is told to breathe normally. The clinician then moves a tablespoon of peanut butter towards their face, and measures from how far the patient can identify the odour.