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Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. There are about 5.1 million Americans who have the disease, and two thirds of them are women, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
Yet, sadly, there is no simple diagnostic test for this (or any) form of dementia. Instead, doctors rely on exams, both mental and physical. And those tests are usually done when Alzheimer's symptoms have already set in.
That may change in the near future, though, a new study reports. Scientists have discovered that Alzheimer's produces a distinct smell in urine, at least in mice. And that smell shows up way before the brain begins to show the effects the disease.
Researchers hope that this discovery will pave the way for a new test that can identify people with Alzheimer's long before they show any symptoms or memory loss. And the test would be simple and cheap: a routine urine sample similar to the ones you already give during a routine physical.
And that's great news for everyone, since Alzheimer's takes an emotional, physical, and economic toll on patients and caregivers alike.