How Showering May Help Identify an Early Sign of Alzheimer’s

Showering Identify An Early Sign Of Alzheimer’s

Health professionals have advised an early symptom of dementia that can be detected while taking a shower, one that many individuals might not even be aware of.

While taking a shower, patients may notice a little-known dementia symptom that can help them receive a crucial early diagnosis, according to health experts. There are presently 55 million people living with dementia worldwide, and this number is likely to grow [1].

Dementia is an umbrella term for over 200 degenerative illnesses that affect how a person’s brain cells function, with Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and mixed dementia being the most frequent [2].

Memory loss, confusion, loss of executive function, and speech issues are some of the symptoms that will worsen with time and significantly impact the person’s life. Although receiving a diagnosis can be painful for the patient and their loved ones, doing so early on may allow them to understand their illness and plan for the future.

How can showering help identify Alzheimer’s early signs

Although many individuals are aware of the memory loss connected with dementia, one symptom that many people are unaware of is the loss of smell. According to a study conducted by experts at the University of Chicago, an acute decline in an individual’s sense of smell could be an early predictor of dementia [3]. That is because memory is critical for our capacity to recognize distinct odors.

Based on a longitudinal study of 515 older individuals, these results aim to pave the way for the development of smell-test screening, similar to vision and hearing tests.

These discoveries may also be helpful for people who keep an eye out for small indicators in their own lives. For instance, you should consult your doctor if you can’t smell your shampoo, conditioner, or shower gel while bathing or taking a shower [4].

According to senior author Jayant M. Pinto, professor of surgery at the University of Chicago, this work adds to the body of research showing that a sharp reduction in smell is an excellent predictor of anatomical changes in particular brain regions. Researchers were able to demonstrate that the volume and shape of grey matter in the brain’s olfactory and memory-related areas were lesser in individuals with rapid olfactory decline compared to those with less severe olfactory deterioration, according to Pinto, an expert on olfactory and sinus disease.

Olfactory testing may be an effective Alzheimer’s screening method.

Serial olfactory testing may be an approachable, practical way to track the rate of olfactory deterioration as a surrogate for neurodegeneration in the brain and a predictor of future dementia and cognitive decline.

The researchers observed that a rapid loss of smell could be a promising early diagnostic of Alzheimer’s due to the accessibility of testing, adding that the Brief Smell Identification Test is a non-invasive, safe, and reliable test that takes only around five minutes to perform.


  1. Dementia. World Health Organization. Updated Online: 15th March, 2023. Accessed: 5th October, 2023.
  2. What is dementia? Dementia UK. Published Online: March, 2023. Accessed: 5th October, 2023.
  3. Pacyna, R.R., Han, S.D., Wroblewski, K.E., McClintock, M.K. and Pinto, J.M., 2023. Rapid olfactory decline during aging predicts dementia and GMV loss in AD brain regions. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 19(4), pp.1479-1490.
  4. HEALTH CHECK The little-known symptom of dementia you might spot in the shower. The Sun. Published Online: 31st July, 2023. Accessed: 5th October, 2023.
  5. Roszkowski, J. Rapid loss of smell could be early indicator of dementia. McKnights. Published Online: 1st August, 2022. Accessed: 5th October, 2023.
  6. Little-known early sign of dementia could be spotted in the shower. Mirror. Published Online: 8th August, 2023. Accessed: 5th Oct, 2023.

New Research has Revealed a “Molecular Road” to Alzheimer’s

Molecular Road To Alzheimer’s

Genetic detective work by Brigham researchers has revealed a promising new therapy method for Alzheimer’s.

The severity, age of onset, and presentation of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) vary widely among individuals. The SORL1 gene has recently drawn more interest since mutations in this gene appear to have a link to both early and late onset of the disease. However, it is unclear how SORL1 damage results in the condition.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a founding member of the Mass General Brigham health care system, discovered that loss of normal SORL1 function results in a reduction in two crucial proteins known to be involved in Alzheimer’s and which play a crucial role in the neurons of healthy people [1]. They performed their research using stem cells from Alzheimer’s patients. Their findings, published in Cell Reports, point to a potential new treatment plan, particularly for patients who don’t respond to current medications.

The Research Findings

To shed light on a different disease-causing route, the researchers in this new study used a stem-cell-based methodology to evaluate natural genetic variability in Alzheimer’s patients. Progenitor stem cells taken from individuals in two Alzheimer’s research cohorts, the Religious Order Studies and the Rush Memory and Aging Project, were modified using CRISPR technologies to eliminate the SORL1 gene.

They next manipulated the stem cells to differentiate into four different types of brain cells to investigate the effect of SORL1 deletion on each cell type. The brain’s “support” cells, astrocytes, and neurons both exhibited the most notable impact. Two essential proteins associated with Alzheimer’s, APOE and CLU, were found to be significantly reduced in two distinct ways in neurons missing SORL1.

Without APOE and CLU, neurons cannot control lipid accumulation in droplets, which could disrupt the communication between neurons. The researchers confirmed their laboratory-based findings by analyzing the natural genetic variation in SORL1 expression in the brain tissue of 50 cohort members. They discovered that lower SORL1 activity in neurons was again connected with lower levels of APOE and CLU in these individuals.

In the past, scientists have focused on three prominent genetic factors (APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2), the mutations of which frequently result in hereditary, early-onset Alzheimer’s (diagnosis before age 65).

Even though in many cases of late-onset (“sporadic”) Alzheimer’s, a more complicated interaction between genes, lifestyle, and environment defines the presentation of the illness, preclinical models and cell-based systems heavily rely on mutations in these genes to represent the disease. Individual differences also exist in important neurological aspects of Alzheimer’s, such as the prevalence of amyloid-beta plaques in the brain.

New Targets for Alzheimer’s Treatment: What’s Next?

Researchers from Brigham performed a pioneering role in figuring out the chemical and genetic causes of Alzheimer’s disease, including significant improvements in our understanding of the amyloid molecule. Aducanumab and lecanemab, two novel anti-amyloid treatments, have gained accelerated and traditional approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, respectively. However, not all patients respond to these medications, necessitating the need for additional therapy choices.

The corresponding author of the study, Tracy Young-Pearse of the Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases, said their study is one of the first to use human cells from a large number of people to try to comprehend the ‘molecular road’ that begins with SORL1 and coincides with APOE.

She further stated that these results highlight the significance of developing therapies that target these and other biological pathways to Alzheimer’s. The more we understand the distinctions between subtypes of the disease, the more we will be able to devise sensible therapeutic strategies to try to fix the problem that is predominantly driving the condition in each patient.

The researchers are continuing to investigate alternative routes that may lead to Alzheimer’s, including those involving microglia (brain cells that perform immunological activities). The researchers seek to find additional molecular pathways crucial in Alzheimer’s by using study models and procedures representative of the disease presentation in the general population.


  1. Lee, H., Aylward, A.J., Pearse, R.V., Hsieh, Y.C., Augur, Z.M., Benoit, C.R., Chou, V., Knupp, A., Pan, C., Goberdhan, S. and Duong, D.M., 2023. Cell-type-specific regulation of APOE levels in human neurons by the Alzheimer’s disease risk gene SORL1. bioRxiv, pp.2023-02.
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Can Music Influence Alzheimer’s Patients?

Music Influence Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer’s is a devastating illness that impairs a person’s capacity for thought, reasoning, memory, and independent functioning. Amyloid plaques are protein clumps that form between neurons in the brain and destroy them. Tau protein tangles twist inside brain nerve cells, making it challenging for these cells to communicate and carry nutrients. As a result, brain cells degenerate, causing loss of memory, knowledge, and (in the later stages) personality. In late-stage Alzheimer’s, your loved one may no longer recognize family members or engage in regular activities.

People with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia rarely have difficulties processing music. A few studies have found that music can access parts of the brain that have not been destroyed by Alzheimer’s or that are not affected until much later in the disease’s progression.

How music benefits cognitive health

Music is a creative mix of rhythm, harmony, and emotional expression, whether instrumental or lyrical. Additionally, numerous research studies have confirmed its many health advantages.

For instance, a 2013 study discovered that listening to music before stressful situations can assist the nervous system in relaxing and recovering more quickly [1]. In the same year, another study reported that children in hospitals who were listening to music experienced less pain and anxiety [2].

In addition to its physiological advantages, research has shown that music has a good effect on cognitive health.

According to a recent study, practicing and actively listening to music might reduce cognitive function decline in individuals aged 62 to 78 [3]. The ability of the brain to rewire itself is essential for learning and memory formation, and the researchers discovered that participating in musical activities boosted the gray matter in several areas of the brain.

In terms of actively learning music, a study from 2023 revealed that regular music training might offer the brain considerable functional advantages and help keep it young [4].

Researchers have discovered that despite considerable impairment of our brain’s executive functions, such as reasoning, judgment, planning, speaking, and language, our response to music remains retained. According to studies, even in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the capacity to sing, play an instrument, or write may remain unaffected [5]. There are several cases where musicians with Alzheimer’s have even learned to play new music [6].

According to these findings, music has the potential to be an effective therapeutic tool for the treatment of dementia, a condition marked by a variety of symptoms such as memory loss and issues with thinking, language, and problem-solving.

Where does the brain process music?

Brain scans of research participants while they were listening to music were used to determine the brain regions that link and store music, memory, and emotion [7]. According to the study, this activity occurs in the medial prefrontal cortex, which is present behind the forehead. Additionally, as the symptoms of Alzheimer’s worsen, it is one of the last brain regions to atrophy.

A further study found that the frontal and parietal regions of the brain, which are less prone to amyloid plaques and other pathologies associated with Alzheimer’s, are among the parts of the brain that have music memory networks [5].

Music causes the brain to release chemicals.

According to research, music’s ability to trigger the production of specific brain chemicals is just as crucial as the memory network’s placement in the brain. Dopamine, one of the brain neurotransmitters involved in producing a pleasure/reward response, is released in reaction to music [8].

Other research has demonstrated that listening to music enhances the production of oxytocin, which fosters bonding and love relationships while decreasing the release of cortisol, which lessens the stress response [9].

Additionally, research has demonstrated that listening to music increases the production of hormones that improve mood and reduce stress and agitation, including melatonin, serotonin, prolactin, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.

Musical memories last longer

Researchers agree that the parts of the brain that music stimulates are affected much later in Alzheimer’s. Since musical memories are procedural memories, they can last longer in Alzheimer’s. We sing to the song or tap our feet to music without thinking about it. It is a routine or habit like riding a bike, driving, or brushing teeth. Procedural memories differ from other memories that originate in the hippocampus of the brain, one of the first areas to experience destruction in Alzheimer’s.

You might have seen that famous singers and musicians with progressing Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia may be unable to recollect the names of loved ones or friends or hold conversations longer than a few phrases but can sing all their hits or play the piano or violin flawlessly. They are utilizing their procedural memory that has been entrenched over time and is retained in a different part of the brain than the parts that store your shopping list, checkbook balance, or knowledge of scheduling an appointment.

Music as therapy

The purpose of employing music for your Alzheimer’s patients is not to entertain or divert them but to achieve beneficial healthcare outcomes. Depending on your loved one’s disease stage and the music played, a music therapist or caregiver might elicit a physical, emotional, social, or cognitive reaction.

In general, the purpose is to provide comfort and connection. Music can aid a loved one who is anxious or depressed. A 2018 study found that music therapy reduced the usage of antipsychotic and anti-anxiety drugs in nursing homes and assisted living institutions [9].

Music therapy is an entertaining and economical technique to improve the quality of life and deal with challenging behaviors of your Alzheimer’s patients at home or in a facility without the use of medicines.

You can use music to relive memories connected to particular songs to calm anxiety and agitation, relax pain and blood pressure, and foster social connections. It can improve the quality of life for both your Alzheimer’s patient and you as the caregiver.


  1. Thoma, M.V., La Marca, R., Brönnimann, R., Finkel, L., Ehlert, U. and Nater, U.M., 2013. The effect of music on the human stress response. PloS one, 8(8), p.e70156.
  2. Longhi, E., Pickett, N. and Hargreaves, D.J., 2015. Wellbeing and hospitalized children: Can music help?. Psychology of music, 43(2), pp.188-196.
  3. Marie, D., Müller, C.A., Altenmüller, E., Van De Ville, D., Jünemann, K., Scholz, D.S., Krüger, T.H., Worschech, F., Kliegel, M., Sinke, C. and James, C.E., 2023. Music interventions in 132 healthy older adults enhance cerebellar grey matter and auditory working memory, despite general brain atrophy. Neuroimage: Reports, 3(2), p.100166.
  4. Jacobsen, J.H., Stelzer, J., Fritz, T.H., Chételat, G., La Joie, R. and Turner, R., 2015. Why musical memory can be preserved in advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Brain, 138(8), pp.2438-2450.
  5. Devere, R., 2017. Music and dementia: An overview. Practical Neurology, 16(5), pp.32-35.
  6. Janata, P., 2009. The neural architecture of music-evoked autobiographical memories. Cerebral Cortex, 19(11), pp.2579-2594.
  7. Ferreri, L., Mas-Herrero, E., Zatorre, R.J., Ripollés, P., Gomez-Andres, A., Alicart, H., Olivé, G., Marco-Pallarés, J., Antonijoan, R.M., Valle, M. and Riba, J., 2019. Dopamine modulates the reward experiences elicited by music. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(9), pp.3793-3798.
  8. de la Rubia Ortí, J.E., García-Pardo, M.P., Iranzo, C.C., Madrigal, J.J.C., Castillo, S.S., Rochina, M.J. and Gascó, V.J.P., 2018. Does music therapy improve anxiety and depression in Alzheimer’s patients?. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 24(1), pp.33-36.
  9. The Power of Music for People with Alzheimer’s Disease. Health News. Published Online: 11th September, 2023. Accessed: 28th Sep, 2023.
  10. Can music help train our brains to delay cognitive decline? Medical News Today. Published Online: 25th April, 2023. Accessed: 28th September, 2023.