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Précurseurs de la maladie d'Alzheimer : anosmie ou dysosmie

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Olfactory Identification and Incidence of Mild Cognitive Impairment In Older Age :

Difficulty Identifying Odors May Predict Cognitive Decline
02 Jul 2007 :

Des troubles de l'odorat pour prévenir la maladie d'Alzheimer
31 Oct 2007 :

        Articles as this one about loss of smell problems among elderlies are frequent on the Web since several years. But this year there were two about the exact subject of olfaction and Alzheimer's and it is very desirable. Subject which have been profusely published by newspapers and tabloids although often they satisfy themselves with simple cut & paste from agencies as Reuter or AFP or at the best they reformulate one or two sentences in order to justify their signature without most of the time nor even the least enrichment but the honor of the publication.

        But these times, thanks to hectic Sarkosian agenda we are in the endless source of subjects for the multitude exploiting the vein of Alzheimer's boomers. But no! I do not complain: this is a good occasion to stimulate researchers and discoverers.

        This is normal and a good thing. I just want to moderate the enthusiasm about the closeness of tremendous solutions. There will be partial solving of the problems. Maybe this is question of weeks, months, years or decades, maybe much more. Enthusiasm is good: better be optimist and look forward hopefully. Maybe the enthusiasm is somewhat to much. And this is very bad. Surge of flourishing imagination might just be a manic prelude to despair and depression. There is certainly a large expectation concomitant with the flood of neo-retired of whom I am. A waiting from those who see the pending threat on them and from their children inheriting this dreadful charge for their mature age.

        I have a personal reason to object to this enthusiasm which is also a good opportunity to be blind or leaving aside pieces of the reality. And this reason is that it almost happened to me to be the victim of the medical well-thinking about this matter of Mild Cognitive Impairment. And to return to this two 2007 texts and the well-thinking about Alzheimer's I do not deny a certain value to these studies. They describe a lot of the truth of Alzheimer's. But there is something they have not seen and it is about the olfactory function, the very half of the subject of their study. They consider olfaction and its troubles as well known and neither are. They speak about olfaction as if it was a territory fully understood where specialists of the matter are not at all so convinced to just be near an answer. It is true that these specialists are very restrained as to the modesty of what they know about olfaction and even more about anosmia and particularly dysosmia. But they say that, all of them, here or there. Why is this restraint? Probably to protect their courage and energy for their work in progress, they point up what they know which is very much less than what they dont know. They very rarely or incidentally say that "precious little is well-understood." It is too upsetting! even after Axel and Buck. But it is nonetheless the case. Some splendid discoveries seam near an achieving state, uncoverings after huge works done and huge perspectives. But we are yet very far from the global and detailed understanding of the olfactory system and to a further more distant point of the comprehension of olfactory distortions : Pierre Bonfils. Amazing things are shown about pig and drosophila (Valéry Matarazzo) and other rodents (Institut Pasteur) and mammals, fish, underwater olfaction of the Star-nosed Mole (Condylura cristata). Frogs too!

        Back to my story. It will illustrate what I try to say. It is a fecund story elements of which can be reached from several paths with cascading surprises. There is the chronology then the comprehension which is perplexing, then diverse implications. Then the reflection about the phenomenon of this surprise which is in its turn surprising.
    I enter into my sixty-first year and I soon realize I have lost my sense of smell. Simple, neat observation, nothing left. The full loss, nothing smells anymore. Neither have I an odor neither any odorant secretion neither any one has, neither any usual garbage neither any square feet of excretion has a smell, that a patient of the hospital spreads some three times a night, floor and walls all the same, neither this other's vomit, neither the smoke den of some hopelessly intoxicated colleague, neither the bakery flavor which enthralled four street corners between the hospital and my home, neither lentils that are my favorite treat have the least flavor, neither the basmathi nor the ginger nor the most furious Munster cheese have the merest smell even if they burn my mouth. All is lost. And my mate has no more odor, no more perfume, nothing but a totally aseptic body, radically deodorized. Ghastly! And as I just emerged some weeks ago from an unending period of depression, I realize I am ready to take the plunge again. And there am I lamentably, my sweetie gone, weeping in my an-aromatic plate and on my dreary bread. This daily ghastliness went on for the two next years. (note about this clumsy use of the neither good nor the bad construction or The better one: leave a message rater than a snap)
    Faster now! I have already spoken about the return of my sense of smell after these two years and the circumstances of the discovery of the toxic of my anosmia, soy.
    But the first thought I had, faced with this loss, even if it was not as dreadful as would have been sight loss, was to fall back to the resource of these times : web search engines.
    And the first thing found and which was not eccentric, for about anosmia, how many twaddles and lousy lucumbrations among rare valuable lights, the first findings was the prominent link between Alzheimer's and smell disorders (sixtyish problems!), links supported by some truly genuine studies and not only outrageously mercantile and sensationalistic as in the ancient home of "ScentSational Hirsch".
        I had a good reason at this stage of my life to fear, with theses informations, I was snarling a very bad bundle of neurons. And as I knew I shall just find at the best a researcher or one of his "and al" and who for the better will add my case to the list of his bunch of elderly olfactory impaired; and that they will not find much unless a miraculous chance anything in term of cure, my complacency to their protocols would not even bring me any snippet of their findings. (add there a rant apropos greedy scientific editors and scientific publishing (not to be confounded with scientists of course!))
        Such pregnant reasons to be ready for the worst, these year 2007 researchers would not have but add to my failing hope. And for all oldish anosmic who have not as I have found or acknowledge the nature or the source of their olfactory distress this dread, this anguish of those "precursors signs which should be anosmia of future Alzheimer's, this anguish, this angst is their present. And their future. Ask them! And ask yourself each time you have a loss of memory. You know very well you think Alzheimer's even if you are not even fifty.
    I am absolutely furious and shall not let fall my wrath. Something is very wrong. This is a farcical and sinister bell and this death knell is unjustifiable or is it justified only by a defective or degenerate science private property of Cupidity, Arrogance and Conceit.
    Pierre Bonfils has this conclusion at the end of the bigger study about dysosmia: "Research on humans with parosmia is practically nonexistent. The terms used to describe olfactory distortion are often confusing, and the physiopathological basis of this symptom remains unknown. The patients with parosmia presented herein represent the first large series in the literature, to our knowledge, and permit a clinical description of this rare olfactory abnormality." Pierre Bonfils est un honnête homme. 

Olivier Lichtenberger  2007/11/06

...more about the star-nosed mole:



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