A former nurse who was able to smell the "musk odor" of Parkinson's disease helped scientists develop a new test that could detect the disease before the onset of symptoms.
People with a keen sense of smell reported a musky odor emanating from patients with Parkinson's disease, and "Super fragrant" Joy Milne, 68, from Scotland, says she first noticed the smell of her husband, Les, 12 years before he was diagnosed.
Milne did not hear about her super-sweet talents until she attended a Parkinson support group with her husband and discovered that everyone had the same distinct smell.
Milne spoke about this strange revelation to Tilo Kunath, neurobiologist, who studies Parkinson's disease at the University of Edinburgh.
Kunath tested Milne's skills by asking her to sniff a series of t-shirts worn by Parkinson's patients and healthy people, in which she identified all confirmed cases and another "healthy person" which, according to her, had the same perfume. Eight months later, this disease was diagnosed.
In collaboration with Perdita Barran of the University of Manchester, the two men worked to identify the compounds that make up the distinctive odor and to develop a non-invasive screening test for early detection. Their results were published in ACS Central Science.
Barran said that early detection is crucial in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, which can often be hampered by confusion between natural brain degeneration due to aging and neurodegenerative disorder.
Scientists are currently testing this technique on a group of people participating in a sleep study in Austria, after discovering that people with fast-moving sleep deprivation disorder had a 50% chance of developing Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's later in life.
READ MORE: Not what you had in mind? Study says brain implant could help fight depression
It is hoped that this test will help physicians to diagnose and treat the disease at an early stage, which will allow more patients to benefit from experimental drugs that can protect brain cells from eroding disease.
Milne, who says Alzheimer's also has a vanilla smell and the cancer smells of dirt, is now working with researchers to identify a scent associated with TB.
Do you like this story? Share it with a friend!