Woman who ‘smelled’ Parkinson’s disease on husband helps scientists develop test: report


Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease that affects the nervous system.

A Scottish woman is helping scientists develop a test that can detect Parkinson’s disease, according to a report published in Sky News. Joy Milne inspired scientists because of her ability to “smell Parkinson’s disease”, the outlet said. The 72-year-old retired nurse from Perth discovered her abilities when she spotted the disease in her husband more than 12 years before he was diagnosed. Mrs. Milne detected a change in her scent, which made her think something was wrong with her husband, the Sky News report says later.

Mrs Milne described the “musky” aroma different from her husband’s normal smell.

Now his ability is being used by scientists in Manchester to create a new method they claim can detect Parkinson’s disease in three minutes.

The skin swab test uses a simple cotton swab that a person can swipe along the back of their neck and identify by smell if a person has the neurological condition, according to Sky News.

The BBC quoted the researchers as saying the test is 95% accurate under laboratory conditions. It is based on the analysis of sebum – the oily substance in the skin – which is collected using a cotton swab from the patients back, an area where it is less often washed away.

Researchers at the University of Manchester used mass spectrometry to compare samples from 79 people with Parkinson’s disease with a healthy control group of 71 people, the report said. BBC report.

They found 500 different compounds in humans, out of a total of 4,000 in the samples. The study was published in the American Chemical Society.

Professor Perdita Barran, who led the research, told the BBC the team is working with colleagues in hospital testing labs so it can be tested in the real environment.


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