Alzheimer's Disease Early Detection May be Possible Through Urine's Odor

  • comments
  • print
  • email
Jan 15, 2016 04:33 AM EST

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia that causes problems with one's memory, thinking and behavior. This disease develops slowly but gets worse over time. Although most patients with Alzheimer's disease are 65 and older, this condition is not a normal part of aging, Alz reported.

Here's a good news, there is a new breakthrough for Alzheimer's disease. A new study revealed that early detection of the said condition is possible.

According to UPI, early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is possible through a distinctive smell in urine. This is based on the experiments with mice.

"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 study author Bruce Kimball, Ph.D., a chemical ecologist with the USDA National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC). "This finding may also have implications for other neurologic diseases."

CTV News reported that the researchers with U.S. Department of Agriculture studied three mouse models known as APP mice, also known as amyloid precursor protein mice.

The researchers inserted human genes associated with mutation of a certain gene called amyloid precursor protein gene into the mice's genomes. They activated those genes with drugs.

The said procedure enabled the mice to develop the same buildup of amyloid brain plaques that are often observed among Alzheimer's patients. The mice, later on, began showing similar dementia symptoms. The researchers found that each strain of APP mice produced a certain "odor profile" that could be distinguished from the urine odor of control mice.

The APP mice's urine did not contain new chemical compounds but the difference showed a shift of existing urinary compound concentrations. Interestingly, the researchers could easily identify the odor difference before the APP mice experienced amyloid buildup. This suggested that the odor was related to the presence of the genes rather than the development of the brain disease itself.

The researchers went on their experiment and conducted further blind studies and they found out that they could correctly identify APP mice versus control mice through their odor.

"While this research is at the proof-of-concept stage, the identification of distinctive odor signatures may someday point the way to human biomarkers to identify Alzheimer's at early stages," said study author Dr. Daniel Wesson, a neuroscientist at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in a press release.

The study is published in Scientific Reports.

Join the Conversation
Real Time Analytics