It was already known that if properly trained, some dogs would be able to sniff out the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in sweat samples. Now in Scotland, a woman would be capable of the same feat, but in the context of Parkinson’s disease.
It all started in the early 2000s: Joy Milne, a 72-year-old retired nurse, noticed a change in the body odor of her husband, Les. “He had a rather unpleasant odor, especially around his shoulders and neckshe explains to our British colleagues from the BBC. Her skin had changed.“
Parkinson’s: an olfactory test within two years?
It was not until 12 years later that the diagnosis was made: Les, Joy’s husband, suffers from Parkinson’s disease, a chronic and neurodegenerative pathology characterized by a reduced production of dopamine, therefore disabling motor symptoms (rigidity muscle, slowness of movement, tremors at rest, etc.). In France, approximately 200,000 people suffer from this pathology and 25,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. At the time of diagnosis, Les was only 45 years old.
Les died in 2015. Today, a team from the University of Manchester (in Great Britain) is working with Joy to develop a “smell test” allowing an earlier diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. The British researchers analyzed sebum samples from 79 patients suffering from this pathology, and compared them with those of 71 non-sick people. Verdict? They identified 500 different compounds in Parkinson’s patients that could result in a different “smell”.
“We hope to develop an olfactory test within 2 years“announced the researchers. “If we had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s earlier, we probably would have spent more time with our family; we would surely have traveled more, too” sorry Joy.
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