Navigation Links
Get a whiff of this: Smell test could sniff out serious health problems

A new medical device in development by University of Cincinnati researchers may sniff out olfactory disorders that could be an early warning of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other problems outside the typical sensory loss associated with aging. The Sniff Magnitude Test (SMT), an invention of UC Psychology Professor Robert Frank and Professor Emeritus Robert Gesteland of the UC Department of Cell Biology, is now under further development with the WR Medical Electronics Company in Stillwater, Minn. The company will manufacture and market the test.

The Sniff Magnitude Test project, a creation that was seven years in the making, was awarded a total of $1,340,098 from the National Institutes of Health in developmental funding. UC Psychology Professor Robert Frank says that in the near future, UC researchers will begin testing five different prototypes of the SMT built by WR Medical Electronics. Currently, Frank says an earlier model of the SMT is being tested in a high-profile clinic in Germany as well as at the University of Pennsylvania. Frank says the SMT customer base would be primarily otolaryngologists and neurologists.

“The whole test is based on the very simple observation that when you sniff and you detect a smell, you take a smaller sniff than if you inhaled and didn’t detect a smell,?Frank explains. “For someone with normal sense of smell, the size of the sniff when detecting an odor is cut in half. For someone who cannot detect odor, the size of the sniff for just air and the size of the sniff for an odor are the same.?

In humans, Frank says the sense of smell is one of our less robust senses. He says it’s more susceptible to harm because there is less neurological machinery in the brain devoted to processing the sense of smell. “So, that’s the reason it might be acting a little bit like the canary in the mineshaft. Because it’s more fragile, when you have insult to the brain, it may be sensitive to loss earlier in th e disease process.?

Frank adds that because smells don’t have to be identified as part of the Sniff Magnitude Test, the test can be used on adults as well as children (who may be too young to link a smell with a name) and people representing international cultures (who are unfamiliar with some common odors in the U.S.). “What’s also unique about this test is that it does not require a good memory, which is an issue in testing people with Alzheimer’s or some other dementia-related disease,?Frank says. “For instance, other tests ask, ‘Does this smell like garlic??or, ‘Does this smell like tar, or roses??Once there’s a problem with memory, this kind of test would be difficult.?

So what does it mean if a child, or someone unlikely to have an age-related disease, flunks the sniff test? “If they fail our test, that’s a pretty good indication that there’s something wrong with their sense of smell. Maybe there’s an obstruction ?a deviated septum or polyps,?Frank says. “Perhaps the olfactory nerve has been damaged due to a head injury or a viral infection.?

For those who are proud of their keen sense of smell, this is not a test to tickle their senses. Because the really nasty smells worked best for the Sniff Magnitude Test, Frank says the test subjects get a whiff of three odors: a blend of ripe cheese and rancid meat, a fragrance that combines a burning smell with a skunk-like smell, and amyl acetate, which smells like banana. “You have to get people to really suppress the sniff and that’s why the bad odors work so well,?explains Frank. “To a certain extent, we put the banana smell in there to give them a little break.?

Frank adds that his current research is exploring the patterns of loss of smell that could be an indicator of Alzheimer’s. He says the Sniff Magnitude Test is also getting a look by researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago as part of a major epidemiological study on aging, Alzheimer’s disease and sense of smell.


Source:University of Cincinnati

Related biology news :

1. Smell of success for nanobiosensors
2. Smell may outlast other senses
3. Protein discovery could unlock the secret to better TB treatment
4. Tiny particles could solve billion-dollar problem
5. First atlas of key brain genes could speed research on cancer, neurological diseases
6. Discovery of key proteins shape could lead to improved bacterial pneumonia vaccine
7. A comprehensive response to HIV could prevent 10 million AIDS deaths in Africa by 2020
8. How the environment could be damaging mens reproductive health
9. Dead zone area in Gulf could be increasing, researchers say
10. Growth in biomass could put US on road to energy independence
11. Nano-bumps could help repair clogged blood vessels
Post Your Comments:

(Date:10/29/2015)... YORK , Oct. 29, 2015 ... technology, announced a partnership with 2XU, a global ... to deliver a smart hat with advanced bio-sensing ... and other athletes to monitor key biometrics to ... the strategic partnership, the two companies will bring together ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), the ... has adopted the Synaptics ® ClearPad ® ... its newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus 5X by LG ... --> --> Synaptics works closely ... collaboration in the joint development of next generation technologies. ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... -- Delta ID Inc., a company focused on bringing secure ... announced its ActiveIRIS® technology powers the iris recognition feature ... NTT DOCOMO, INC in Japan . ... include iris recognition technology, after a very successful introduction ... 2015, world,s first smartphone to have this capability. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte, ... their initial angel funding process. Now, they are paying it forward to other ... stage investments in the microbiome space. In this, they join other successful ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: ... speaking at the following conference, and invited investors to ... NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 ... NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 ... Conference, New York, NY      Tuesday, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... But unless it is bound to proteins, copper is also toxic to cells. ... at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic study of copper in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Global, Inc., a worldwide provider of clinical research services headquartered in ... company has set a new quarterly earnings record in Q3 of ... for Q3 of 2014 to Q3 of 2015.   ... with the establishment of an Asia-Pacific office ... Kingdom and Mexico , with the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: