Scientists develop nose exam to detect Alzheimer’s disease early

Grandma's hands by McBeth

Published: 16 Nov 11 08:19 CET

Scientists in central Germany are working on a method with which they reckon they could diagnose Alzheimer’s disease years before any symptoms are noticed – by looking up patients’ noses.

An early diagnosis would give people the chance to try to slow the development of incurable dementia, said the researchers at the Technical University of Darmstadt.

Until now diagnosis has only been possible using radiological techniques such as computer or magnetic resonance tomography – or memory tests, the scientists said in a statement on Tuesday. But these do not allow for an early diagnosis.

But now chemists and pathologists at the university are developing a new method – having realised that tests of the nasal mucous membrane can show whether the damaging tau protein, which kill brain cells and can lead to dementia, are being deposited in the brain.

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Photo by McBeth April 16, 2005

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