Joy Milne found something was wrong with her husband 12 years before he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
A woman from Scotland is helping scientists develop a test, which can spot Parkinson’s disease, according to a report in Sky News. Joy Milne inspired scientists because of her ability to “smell Parkinson’s”, said the outlet. The 72-year-old retired nurse from Perth found about her ability when she detected the disease in her husband more than 12 years before he was diagnosed. Ms Milne detected a change in the way he smelled, which made her believe that there is something wrong with her husband, the Sky News report further said.
Ms Milne described the “musky” aroma different from her husband’s normal smell.
Now, her ability is being utilised by scientists in Manchester to create a new method which they say can detect Parkinson’s in three minutes.
The skin-swab test uses a simple cotton bud that a person can run along the back of the neck and identify with the smell whether a person has the neurological condition, as per Sky News.
The BBC quoted the researchers as saying that the test is 95 per cent accurate under laboratory conditions. It is based on the analysis of sebum – the oily substance on skin – which is collected by using a cotton swab on patients’ back, an area where it is less often washed away.
The researchers from University of Manchester made use of mass spectrometry to compare the samples of 79 people with Parkinson’s with a healthy control group of 71 people, said the BBC report.
They found 500 different compounds in people, out of a total 4,000 in the samples. The study has been published in the American Chemical Society.
Prof Perdita Barran, who led the research, told the BBC that the team is working with colleagues in hospital analytical labs so that it can be tested in the actual environment.