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Scientists Hope 'Sniff Tests' May Identify Early Signs Of Alzheimer's

BOSTON (CBS) - Do you ever find a particular scent takes you right back to an earlier time in your life?

Scientists at the University of Toronto now have a better understanding of why smells bring back vivid memories, and that has implications for Alzheimer's disease.

The scientists gave an example of smelling a particular perfume that brings back memories of a first kiss with the person wearing that scent.  As it turns out, the area of the brain responsible for smell is very close to that for storing memories about space and time, and in mice, they were able to identify a new pathway in the brain responsible for this connection.

The sense of smell is often disrupted early in Alzheimer's disease, perhaps because patients lose the ability to remember when and where they first experienced those odors.

Scientists hope to use this information to develop better "sniff tests" to identify the early stages of Alzheimer's.


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