Have you had your peanut butter today? If so – could you smell it?
Dumb question. Right?
Well maybe yes, maybe no.
A recent study by researchers at the University of Florida came up with the peanut butter sniff test to determine if someone is in the early stages of Alzheimer's.
On first hearing this, I thought it sounded pretty ridiculous. The test consisted of testing a group of people, some with known early-stage Alzheimer's, by asking them to smell peanut butter, first with one nostril, then the other.
The patients with known Alzheimer's were not able to smell the peanut butter as soon in their left nostril as those who had no known symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. It seems that cognitive impairment is more evident in the left side of the brain than the right side, therefore the sniff test shows promise of being an early indicator of the disease.
Or so the researchers say.
I tried the test on myself – I couldn't smell the peanut butter at all! But then I can't smell much of anything. Ever since I used a certain anti-cold product several years ago I have had a significant loss of smell.
So I have to wonder what that has to say about my cognitive abilities. Maybe I am in full-blown dementia and just don't know it!
Purveyors of the test say we shouldn't try the test on ourselves, lest we send ourselves into a panic over the possibility that we are declining into dementia.
I haven't tried it on Charlie yet, but I plan to.
We all know he is suffering from a form of dementia, so I am anxious to see how good his nose is working, just to prove-disprove the test.
Well – it's time for my evening snack – toast with peanut butter.
In case a member of your family is one of those working on the peanut butter research, forgive me for my skepticism.