Urine odour biomarker may be Alzheimer’s detection tool as new research conducted on genetically modified mice shows promise for the novel approach. The study, featuring in the Scientific Reports journal, is a proof-of-concept research conducted on mice.
Alzheimer’s disease is uniquely found with humans. However, genetically modified mice which offer brain models mimicking Alzheimer’s disease are good indicator of possible approach to detect the uniquely evasive cognitive impairing disease.
The diagnose method proposed in the study in non-invasive. Thus, further research could be conducted on human patients to test the efficacy and relevance of the odour biomarker test. The odour biomarker test would increase the chances that human patients are diagnosed much earlier, improving treatment options.
Urine odour biomarker may be Alzheimer’s detection tool as Doctor Bruce Kimball with the USDA National Wildlife Research Center stated that:
“Now we have evidence that urinary odour signatures can be altered by changes in the brain characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. This finding may also have implications for other neurological diseases”.
For the research, the scientific team used three mouse brain models mimicking Alzheimer’s disease. A fourth group of mice represented the control group. All mice were monitored for chemical changes observed in urine. In addition, the researchers tracked their behavior and brain activity.
The pathological indicator of Alzheimer’s disease is the buildup of amyloid plaques in the brain. When urine samples of the three strains of genetically modified mice were analyzed, the researchers found that the smell differed significantly from that of the samples collected from the control group. Thus, the odour biomarker became the focus of the research.
The difference in smell wasn’t dependent on age. Moreover, according to the research findings, the differentiated smell preceded the buildup of amyloid plaques in the brain. The odour biomarker test is still at proof-of-concept stage.
However, according to Doctor Daniel Wesson with the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, the research team is hopeful it could pave the way to finding similar biomarkers which could diagnose Alzheimer’s disease with human patients at the early stage.
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