London: Scientists have made a major breakthrough in the form of a test for diagnosing Alzheimer’s years before symptoms of the killer disease appear, by simply looking at the patient’s nose.
The new test discovered by Professor Boris Schmidt and his team from the Technische Universitat Darmstadt in Germany aims to find protein deposits that cause Alzheimer’s before the killer disease shows any physical signs of having struck.
Chemists discovered that deposits of a toxic protein, called tau, found in the brain cells of people with Alzheimer’s, are also found on mucous nasal membranes years before dementia starts.
It is this protein that builds up inside brain cells, forming tangles, which burst and ravage the brain of victims.
“Accurate diagnoses of the stage of the disease can now be made,” the Daily Express quoted experts from the Technische Universitat Darmstadt as saying.
The experts said that a fluorescent dye could be given in a pill or as a nasal spray to highlight the proteins, which can then be spotted by doctors with an illuminating endoscope, which is a small, thin tube with a camera, which can relay images from inside the body.
“The more nasal tau-protein deposits we found in patients, the worse were their brain structures infested,” Schmidt said.