Urine May Help Detect Alzheimer's
We could be one step closer to detecting Alzheimer's at an early stage. It may one day be as simple as providing a urine sample.
A research team from the Monell Chemical Sense Center in Philadelphia, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), first worked with mice bred to develop amyloid plaques in the brain similar to the ones that afflict humans. And, the mice developed similar behavioral symptoms of mental deterioration.
The researchers used three separate strains of these mice. Using behavioral and chemical analyses, they found each strain of the mice had different urine odor signatures that were distinctly different from those of control mice. The differences in odor signature between the amyloid plaque mice and the control mice were not due to different compounds, but to differences in concentrations of the same compounds.
The differences in odor preceded detectable amounts of amyloid plaque build-up in the brains of the mice. The study authors suggest this means the odor signature is tied to the underlying gene, rather than the progress of changes in the brain.
They conclude, "While this research is at the proof-of-concept stage, the identification of distinctive odor signatures may someday point the way to human biomarkers to identify Alzheimer's at early stages."
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