About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Briton Who Could 'Smell' Parkinson's Before Symptoms Developed Prompts New Research

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on October 23, 2015 at 9:00 PM
Font : A-A+

 Briton Who Could 'Smell' Parkinson's Before Symptoms Developed Prompts New Research

Parkinson's disease is a nervous system disorder whose symptoms include shaking and slowness of movement. About one in 500 people suffer from this degenerative illness that is difficult to diagnose and for which there is no cure. The widow of a man who suffered from Parkinson's has triggered new research into the condition after she discovered that she could 'smell' a change in the odor of her late husband years before he developed symptoms of Parkinson's.

Joy Milne, 65, told researchers, "I've always had a keen sense of smell and I detected very early on that there was a very subtle change in how Les smelled. It's hard to describe but it was a heavy, slightly musky aroma. I had no idea that this was unusual and hadn't been recognized before."


Milne made the connection between the smell and Parkinson's disease after picking up the same odor from other sufferers. She went ahead to tell researchers, who dubbed her 'super-smeller' after finding that she could identify Parkinson's sufferers from T-shirts they had slept in. This revelation prompted research charity Parkinson's UK to launch a project to find whether the disease and odor are linked.

Arthur Roach, director of research at the charity, said, "It's very early days in the research, but if it's proved there is a unique odour associated with Parkinson's, particularly early on in the condition, it could have a huge impact. Not just on early diagnosis, but it would also make it a lot easier to identify people to test drugs that may have the potential to slow, or even stop Parkinson's, something no current drug can achieve."

The research team is investigating whether the condition triggers changes in sebum, an oily substance secreted by skin, and aim to recruit 200 people with and without the condition for the study. Swabs taken from them will be analyzed by machine at the molecular level, and will also be scrutinized by Milne and a team of smell experts from the food and drink industry.

Source: AFP


Latest Research News

 Blind People Feel Their Heartbeat Better Than Those With Sight
Brain plasticity following blindness leads to superior ability in sensing signals from the heart, which has implications for bodily awareness and emotional processing.
New Biomarkers Help Detect Alzheimer's Disease Early
A group of scientists were awarded £1.3 million to create a new ďpoint of care testingĒ kit that detects Alzheimer's disease biomarkers.
Bone Health and Dementia: Establishing a Link
Is there a connection between Osteoporosis and dementia? Yes, loss in bone density may be linked to an increased risk of dementia in older age.
Is Telomere Shortening a Sign of Cellular Aging?
Link between chromosome length and biological aging marker discovered. The finding helps explain why people with longer telomeres have a lower dementia risk.
Why Is Integrated Structural Biology Important for Cystic Fibrosis?
Integrated structural biology helps discover how the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) works.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Briton Who Could 'Smell' Parkinson's Before Symptoms Developed Prompts New Research Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests