It all started with the “Joy Milne affair”: 20 years ago, this Scottish nurse had detected that her husband was suffering from Parkinson disease noting that his body odor had become more musky. Endowed with a very advanced sense of smell, this 65-year-old woman was then approached by researchers from the University of Edinburgh (Great Britain) to participate in tests which proved conclusive. Thanks to her sense of smell, she was able to “sniff” a smell specific to the disease on the t-shirts of people suffering from Parkinson’s.
Twenty years later, the Foundation for research on Parkinson’s disease in Great Britain will therefore finance research carried out by scientists from the universities of Manchester and Edinburgh, which could lead to the development of a test allowing to diagnose the disease in its early stages.
“Super smellers” have been recruited
For this study, Professor Perdita Barran and her colleagues at the Manchester Institute of Technology recruited 24 “noses” to study their olfactory abilities. They will also extract and identify small molecule components taken from the skin to identify the specific signs found in Parkinson’s disease and test whether this team of “super smellers” is able to detect these specific signs.
Professor Barran hopes that the results of this research will lead to the development of a test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease at its beginnings, “maybe even before physical symptoms occur” she explained.
Many researchers are currently working on the odors we give off and which could provide clues to our state of health. Thus, Portuguese researchers have revealed that happiness can generate chemicals secreted in perspiration, which induce a state similar to happiness in the person. who breathes this smell.
Furthermore, German researchers have discovered that dogs can detect the smell of lung cancer by sniffing the breath of people with this disease.
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