Every six minutes in Australia, a new case of Alzheimer’s is diagnosed. Unfortunately for most people, symptoms begin around three years prior to any formal diagnosis.
Now a simple urine test might be able to predict the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. This incredible discovery from researchers in America is providing hope to families impacted by Alzheimer’s everywhere.
Researchers examined the brain activities of mice. First, they gave a group of mice chemical treatments to mimic the abnormal brain activities seen in people with Alzheimer’s.
Next, researchers observed that mice who exhibited Alzheimer’s symptoms had a distinctly different smelling urine to the others.
The difference in odour was detectable long before researchers could measure any differences in the mice’s brains, where cognitive plaque build-up normally reveals Alzheimer’s.
Researchers have suggested that differences in urine odour might indicate a genetic change connected to Alzheimer’s. This discovery could be the first step towards a urine test to detect Alzheimer’s in humans.
“While this research is at the proof-of-concept stage, the identification of distinctive odour signatures may someday point the way to human biomarkers to identify Alzheimer’s at early stages”, said the research author, Dr Daniel Wesson.
Brain training, cognitive therapy and some medications can help address the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but there is currently no complete cure.
As such, early detection of the disease through a urine test could help many Australians live fuller lives for longer. Here’s hoping the future looks a little more hopeful now…