Have you heard of the peanut butter test for Alzheimer’s? If you can’t smell it, it could be an early-warning sign of the disease.
I know, it sounds bizarre. When I told my husband about it a few weeks back, I’m fairly sure he didn’t believe me – in fact, I began to doubt myself.
As regular readers will know, this is of special interest to me as I have Alzheimer’s, or The A Word. And, from time to time, I get the wrong end of the stick about things I’m told or read, but not this time. It’s true.
I discovered this while looking for ‘loss of sense of smell’ online – for the obvious reason that it’s one of the main symptoms of Covid-19. I hadn’t lost my sense of smell but everyone seemed to be talking about little else.
If you can’t smell peanut butter, it could be an early-warning sign of Alzheimer’s, writes BONNIE ESTRIDGE
The nerve that links the nose and brain – the olfactory nerve – is one of the first things to go when you’re developing my blasted illness. And this is why researchers in Florida decided to develop a ‘sniff test’ to flag up the condition – using a dab of peanut butter. There are other smelling nerves, but the scent of peanut butter gets picked up by this one specific nerve only.
They asked volunteers with early Alzheimer’s, mild memory loss and other kinds of dementia to close their eyes and sniff a dab of it, and only the Alzheimer’s group were unable to smell it.
Before you all go rushing off to try, be warned: the test hasn’t gone mainstream, as others have repeated the study and failed to produce results.
And there’s another snag. Although I have Alzheimer’s, I can smell peanut butter. I love the stuff, although I try to limit my intake as it’s also fattening.
The things you learn when stuck in lockdown for months on end…
Isn’t that a ghastly word – lockdown? I hate it, as it seems to be the one-word answer everyone gives for why I can’t do anything I want.
I know I’ve not written for a while, and I’ve had a fair few emails from readers asking if I’m OK. The answer is yes. My long-suffering husband Chris and I, my dog Benny, cat Alfie (who’s a girl), tortoise Stan (also a girl) are muddling through.
My two girls, Suzy, 35, and Hannah, 39, are well, too.
With so much heartbreak and sadness everywhere, we all feel incredibly lucky. But it’s not been easy having The A Word at a time like this. All these restrictions and unrest when nothing is ‘normal’ is – to use my favourite and also least favourite description – discombobulating.
And, on occasion, I’ve felt quite gloomy, which isn’t like me.
BONNIE ESTRIDGE, pictured with husband Chris, has described the pandemic as ‘discombobulating’
Since March I’ve been trying to write a daily diary, as remembering details from day to day isn’t easy now.
Chris and I were in Vietnam on holiday when the pandemic kicked off. We, and everyone else there, wore masks the whole time, which amused me, though it’s not a novelty now.
Once back in the UK, it became clear the world had gone mad, bulk-buying loo roll and painkillers. I still got to walk my boy Benny on the common every day, but it was all a bit boring. I’m not ashamed to say, I was one of those (in a mask) queuing to get into TK Maxx on the first day it opened. I didn’t need anything – it was just good to do something normal again.
Much as he deserves a medal, with the gradual easing of lockdown it’s been good for Chris and me to finally spend some time apart. As I’ve said, one of the worst things about this horrible illness is that I ask the same questions over and over. I don’t know I’m doing it, so it’s frustrating for us both, and I’ll admit there have been a few arguments and tears.
I was able to stay with Hannah for a few days, just to give Chris (and me) a break, and I can confirm absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Oh, and I should say I’m not a pretty sight at the moment. I have lockdown locks and it doesn’t suit me. I have an appointment next week at the salon, but for the time being, all I can say is, thank God I have a stylish panama hat!