Camila Villafañe

By Camila Villafañe

LifeBuzz Staff

With Her Keen Sense Of Smell, Woman Detects Parkinson's Disease In Humans.

Parkinson’s Disease is the last thing you want to develop. There are no specific tests to diagnose this condition, but neurologists can figure out if you have it or not based on your medical history, a review of your symptoms and a neurological and physical exam. But now there’s another way to detect the condition early on, but you’ll have to pay a visit to Joy Milne, a retired nurse in Perth. She can tell you if you have Parkinson’s just by smelling you.

Parkinson’s Disease wreaks havoc on the nervous system and it only gets worse.

The disease affects the brain’s basal ganglia leading to a lack of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This leads to imprecise movement, muscular rigidity, and the most obvious symptom, which are bouts of tremors.

Parkinson’s Disease wreaks havoc on the nervous system and it only gets worse.

American In-Home Care

Perdita Barran is the lead author on a study to find a way to detect Parkinson’s Disease.

She first heard of Joy Milne from Tito Kunath, one of her colleagues at the University of Edinburgh. He had told her about Joy’s ability to smell Parkinson’s disease. Then another friend encouraged her to seek out this extraordinary woman.

Perdita Barran is the lead author on a study to find a way to detect Parkinson’s Disease.

The University of Manchester

Joy discovered she could smell Parkinson’s in her late husband, who had the illness years earlier.

It turns out that she’s a super smeller. People like her are also called “noses” and are often used in the perfume and food and drink industries. But people with Parkinson’s emit a certain odor that she could detect, too.

Joy discovered she could smell Parkinson’s in her late husband, who had the illness years earlier.

EverydayHealth

Perdita and her research team conducted a t-shirt test to see if Joy was the real McCoy.

They asked patients with Parkinson’s and people who didn’t have it to sleep in identical t-shirts. Joy was Then, they presented the t-shirts to Joy one at a time. Then whiff after whiff, she managed to identify which t-shirt belonged to Parkinson’s patients.

Perdita and her research team conducted a t-shirt test to see if Joy was the real McCoy.

The Spruce

The smell wasn’t connected to the sweat, but rather a compound in the patient’s greasy sebum.

The combination of chemicals produced the smell of Parkinson’s. But how does this disease smell? People like Joy describe it as a musky scent similar to the way a beaver smells. Hopefully, people like Joy could be the key to catching this condition and developing early treatments in the future.

The smell wasn’t connected to the sweat, but rather a compound in the patient’s greasy sebum.

PBS / YouTube