AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 3, 2017

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Odor Biomarker for Alzheimer’s Disease

In a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other collaborating institutions, researchers reported a uniquely identifiable odor signature from mouse-model studies of Alzheimer’s disease. According to researchers, the odor signature appears in urine before significant development of Alzheimer-related brain pathology, suggesting that it may be possible to develop a non-invasive tool for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. “Previous research from the USDA and Monell has focused on body odor changes due to exogenous sources such as viruses or vaccines. Now we have evidence that urinary odor signatures can be altered by changes in the brain characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease,” said the study’s senior author. During the study, published in the online journal Scientific Reports, researchers analyzed three separate mouse models, known as APP mice, which mimic Alzheimer’s-related brain pathology. Using both behavioral and chemical analyses, the researchers found that each strain of APP mice produced urinary odor profiles that could be distinguished from those of control mice. The odor differences between APP and control mice were mostly independent of age and preceded detectable amounts of plaque build-up in the brains of the APP mice. To read more about this study, click here.

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