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How many times have you walked into your kitchen at top speed only to forget why you even headed into this room in the first place? I’m definitely guilty. Another common scatterbrain moment of mine -- chatting away (usually trying to make a point) when suddenly the how-it-all-ties-together ending just slips my mind.
I admit it, sometimes I freak out. “Is this it? Am I losing it already?” Well, my fears have subsided. Why? Because I just opened a jar of peanut butter, covered one nostril, took a whiff, covered the other and whiffed, and both times smelled its lovely aroma very clearly.
No, I haven’t lost it -- I actually have all my faculties.
Researchers from the University of Florida have discovered that the sense of smell can be impaired with Alzheimer’s patients. According to their findings, those in the early stages of this disease had a “dramatic difference” in detecting odor between their left nostril and the right one.
Even more unusual, they used peanut butter to conduct this study because this favorite spread is labeled as a “pure odorant.”
Here’s why: Our sense of smell can detect two sensations -- the olfactory sense (an odor) and the trigeminal sense, which is similar to a physical burning or stinging-type sensation. Peanut butter is 100 percent smell and zero sensation.
“One of the first places in the brain to degenerate in people with Alzheimer’s disease is the front part of the temporal lobe that evolved from the smell system, and this portion of the brain is involved in forming new memories,” study researchers said in a statement.
Obviously, the peanut butter test is just one possible indication of a potential neurological disorder. However, while it takes a battery of tests conducted by medical professionals in order to confirm a diagnosis, the study authors believe the peanut butter test could actually be used by clinics that lack sophisticated equipment.
But the jelly's not included.
Amy Capetta is a contributing writer for iVillage. Follow her on Twitter.
WATCH: Peanut Butter Used to Diagnose Alzheimers