Now, your nose could help in fight against Alzheimer's

This is all thanks to German scientists who claim to have developed a test for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, years before symptoms appear — simply by looking in your nose. The discovery has been hailed as a breakthrough as early detection is seen as the key to beating the killer disease. Until now by the time the first signs of memory loss show, brain damage has already occurred.

The new test aims to find protein deposits that cause Alzheimer’s before the killer disease shows any physical signs of having struck, say the scientists.

They discovered that deposits of a toxic protein, called tau, found in the brain cells of people with Alzheimer’s, are also found on mucous nasal membranes years before dementia starts.

It is this protein that builds up inside brain cells, forming tangles which burst and ravage the brain of victims. The scientists at Technische Universitat Darmstadt was quoted by the Daily Express as saying, “Accurate diagnoses of the stage of the disease can now be made.”

They said a fluorescent dye can be given in a pill or as a nasal spray to highlight the proteins which can then be spotted by doctors with an illuminating endoscope — a small, thin tube with a camera to relay images from inside the body. Prof Boris Schmidt, who led the team, said: “The more nasal tau-protein deposits we found in patients, the worse were their brain structures infested.”

The discovery comes after another study showed that the secret of beating Alzheimer’s lies in its early detection and treatment.

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