A new medical device in development by University of Cincinnati researchers may sniff out olfactory disorders that could be an early warning of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other problems outside the typical sensory loss associated with aging. The Sniff Magnitude Test (SMT), an invention of UC Psychology Professor Robert Frank and Professor Emeritus Robert Gesteland of the UC Department of Cell Biology, is now under further development with the WR Medical Electronics Company in Stillwater, Minn. The company will manufacture and market the test.
The Sniff Magnitude Test project, a creation that was seven years in the making, was awarded a total of $1,340,098 from the National Institutes of Health in developmental funding. UC Psychology Professor Robert Frank says that in the near future, UC researchers will begin testing five different prototypes of the SMT built by WR Medical Electronics. Currently, Frank says an earlier model of the SMT is being tested in a high-profile clinic in Germany as well as at the University of Pennsylvania. Frank says the SMT customer base would be primarily otolaryngologists and neurologists.
“The whole test is based on the very simple observation that when you sniff and you detect a smell, you take a smaller sniff than if you inhaled and didn’t detect a smell,” Frank explains. “For someone with normal sense of smell, the size of the sniff when detecting an odor is cut in half. For someone who cannot detect odor, the size of the sniff for just air and the size of the sniff for an odor are the same.”In humans, Frank says the sense of smell is one of our less robust senses. He says it’s more susceptible to harm because there is less neurological machinery in the brain devoted to processing the sense of smell. “So, that’s the reason it might be acting a little bit like the canary in the mineshaft. Because it’s more fragile, when you have insult to the brain, it may be sensitive to loss earlier in the disease process.”
So what does it mean if a child, or someone unlikely to have an age-related disease, flunks the sniff test? “If they fail our test, that’s a pretty good indication that there’s something wrong with their sense of smell. Maybe there’s an obstruction – a deviated septum or polyps,” Frank says. “Perhaps the olfactory nerve has been damaged due to a head injury or a viral infection.”
For those who are proud of their keen sense of smell, this is not a test to tickle their senses. Because the really nasty smells worked best for the Sniff Magnitude Test, Frank says the test subjects get a whiff of three odors: a blend of ripe cheese and rancid meat, a fragrance that combines a burning smell with a skunk-like smell, and amyl acetate, which smells like banana. “You have to get people to really suppress the sniff and that’s why the bad odors work so well,” explains Frank. “To a certain extent, we put the banana smell in there to give them a little break.”
Frank adds that his current research is exploring the patterns of loss of smell that could be an indicator of Alzheimer’s. He says the Sniff Magnitude Test is also getting a look by researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago as part of a major epidemiological study on aging, Alzheimer’s disease and sense of smell.
Dawn Fuller | EurekAlert!
Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
16.08.2018 | Life Sciences
16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.08.2018 | Life Sciences