A study published in the journal Scientific Reports on Thursday has revealed some interesting observations regarding early-stage detection of the deadly Alzheimer’s disease. The detection may be made possible through urine odour of a person, which in turn may lead to a non-invasive test to determine the most common form of dementia. Quite recently, a University of Southampton-led study suggested that blocking a receptor in the brain, known as CSF1R, which is responsible for regulating immune cells may help in checking progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

In the new study, researchers used three different types of genetically-altered mice that could mimic the brain and behavioural changes seen in Alzheimer’s disease. They found that each strain of mice produced urinary odour signatures distinct from those of the control mice.

“Now we have evidence that urinary odor signatures can be altered by changes in the brain characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. This finding may also have implications for other neurologic diseases,” said Dr. Bruce Kimball, study author and chemical ecologist with the USDA National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC).

The team of researchers also included members from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Monell Chemical Sense Center in Philadelphia, PA. The team worked with mice, bred to develop amyloid plaques in the brain similar to the ones that affect human brains. The amyloid plaques, formed by the excess precursor protein, clogged up the brain of the modified mice and they developed behavioural symptoms similar to that of mental deterioration in humans with Alzheimer’s.

The researchers used three separate strains of APP mice and they had different urine odour signatures distinctly different from those of control mice, reports Medical News Today. The differences were due to differences in concentrations of the same compound. According to the researchers, the odour signature is linked to the underlying gene and not the progress of changes in the brain.

“While this research is at the proof-of-concept stage, the identification of distinctive odor signatures may someday point the way to human biomarkers to identify Alzheimer's at early stages,” said Dr. Daniel Wesson, co-author and neuroscientist at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, OH.