Woman Who Can Smell Parkinson’s’ Helps Scientists Develop Test
By Andy Corbley – Sep 12, 2022
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In Scotland there’s a woman who can smell changes in body odor corresponding to the presence or onset of Parkinson’s disease.
Keeping with Scotland’s decorated history of medical discoveries, this “curse and a benefit” is now being used to develop a fast test for Parkinson’s that involves simply scraping a cotton ball over the back of the neck for examination.
More than 40 years ago, Joy Milne noticed an abrupt change in the natural odor of her husband, Les, when he was 33-years-old.
She knew herself to have a supersensitive nose, someone who couldn’t go into the cleaning section of a supermarket, but 12 years later, Les was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in an already progressive state, and it got her thinking it was the cause.
In 2012, Les, a former-doctor, went to find someone who could investigate further the connection between scent and Parkinson’s alongside Joy.
That initial inquiry led them to a professor at the University of Edinburgh who formed a team to put Joy’s sense of smell to the test.
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What a great human adaption! This could lead to a life changing test.