Scientists have discovered a new way to test for Alzheimer’s disease, and it involves peeing into a cup.
That’s right – a simple urine test could be a new non-invasive method to diagnosis Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages. Currently, there is no definitely test for living people, as the only way to know for sure if a person has the disease is to dissect the brain. The only sign scientists can observe is a buildup of amyloid plaque deposits in the brain, which is what seemingly causes the mental decline associated with the disease.
A study was performed on mice which had been genetically altered to have the gene thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s. The urine of these mice was then compared with mice who did not gave genetic changes.
In the mice with genetic alterations, a specific odor was detected that was not present in the urine of the unaltered mice. Using chemical analysis, scientists determined that no new compounds were present in urine. Instead, different concentrations of the existing compounds were present, creating the unique smell.
What’s more, the genetically altered mice had not yet shown signs of plaque buildup in the brain at the time the test was conducted, leading scientists to believe that the changes in urine were due to genetics themselves. Therefore, this test could be used as a method of detecting Alzheimer’s before plaque buildup in the brain actually occurs.
While the test won’t help stop Alzheimer’s from happening, it can give patients and families time to prepare for the future as well as begin preventative treatment for any forming symptoms. Further tests are required to determine efficacy in human subjects.