It is believed that the whole shebang is about the way chewing makes the blood flow. Mastication is basically workout for your face, and if you're unable to do it properly, the blood flow in the brain reduces, essentially leaving your Head Ferrari running on fumes. So remember, kids: You can always tell the mental health of an old person by running up and making them bite through a stick. Just shove it right in there. They'll understand.
Simple Smell Tests Can Detect Alzheimer's ... And Psychopaths
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We've told you time and time again how your sense of smell, that rascal that you think you mainly use to detect fresh donuts and recipients of the prestigious Office Farter prize, is in fact the mastermind behind a veritable shit-ton of tricks that influence your perception of the world. Well, bizarrely, this connection means there are simple smell tests that can instantly recognize some very specific brain conditions you may have.
Let's start with Alzheimer's. In a medical first, scientists at the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute have used peanut butter to treat a disease rather than cause it. All you need are a jar of peanut butter, a ruler, a friend, and a magic spell that makes the both of you able to not chow down the PB at once. To begin the test, close your eyes, mouth, and one nostril. Have your friend hold the peanut butter at chest height, then slowly raise it until you detect the slightest whiff and mark the nose-to-peanut distance. Repeat for the other nostril.
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Next, tell them that people with Alzheimer's can't smell watermelons, then Gallagher it right into their face.
If the scores are more than four inches apart and your left nostril is weaker, congratulations! There's a higher chance you will develop Alzheimer's. A grad student came up with this ingeniously simple test when she realized that conventional testing for cognitive disease overlooked the sense of smell, which is kind of weird, since the downward spiral of cognitive decline begins at the first cranial nerve, which happens to be the tract that relays olfactory information to the brain. Peanut butter was chosen because it was cheap and pungent -- scientifically described as a "pure odorant."
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They tried using one of the university laundry rooms, but the participants kept passing out from the fumes.
Oh, and of course there are more layers in the shit sandwich for the olfactorally-impaired. Research also shows a strong link between a poor sense of smell and goddamned psychopathy. Australian researchers have been able to categorize psychopathic tendencies by olfactory aptitude. Using scented markers, researchers conducted a battery of tests to reveal closet psychopaths. Their 79 subjects, aged 19 to 21, were asked to kindly refrain from stabbing cohorts while identifying the markers based on scent. The budding psychopaths in the group had the most trouble, even when they were told what the marker was supposed to smell like. They were also remarkably unable to differentiate between odors.
"I don't know, they both smell like the flesh of the innocent to me ..."
This is potentially pretty damn important, because (once again) now we might have a simple test that can offer an objective way to qualify a disorder we've usually tried to recognize with stuff like questionnaires, which are always subjective. This is especially useful for dealing with keenly manipulative Patrick-Bateman-style psychopaths, who could otherwise charm their way to a sane diagnosis and dinner with the interviewer. Of course, the researchers are first to admit that poor olfaction isn't always a sign of impending psychosis, and could be the cause of other factors, such as schizophrenia or Parkinson's. Well, that or you could have a runny nose.
For more ways you can't trust your body, check out 5 Mind-Blowing Ways Your Senses Lie to You Every Day and 5 Ways Your Brain Is Messing With Your Head.
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