A wife heard her husband’s Parkinson’s disease

A wife heard her husband’s Parkinson’s disease

A wife heard her husband’s Parkinson’s disease

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[EN VIDÉO] Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, behind Alzheimer’s disease.

Joy Milne is a 72 year old nurse living in Scotland. She has a smell hypersensitive, a gift as much as a test. Her hyperosmia prevents her from going to perfumery, but she allowed her to detect a change in her sense of smell in her husband, Les of hers, when she was then 33, in 1986. A dozen years later , doctors diagnose it Parkinson’s disease.

The great smell of Joy Milne

This woman’s unusual ability to smell attracted the attention of scientists from the University of Manchester. In 2016 they offered it to him test your sense of smell on patients other than the husband. She sniffed the shirts of twelve volunteers – six sick and six healthy – and was able to detect Parkinson’s with 100% success.

One of the volunteers Joy considered sick was not sick at the time of the test but a few months later he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In 2019, the same team showed that Parkinson’s disease has its own olfactory signature, rich in perillaldehyde and eicosane, two molecules which have a musky smell comparable to what Joy Milne smelled at her husband’s house.

Why does Parkinson’s disease affect people’s sense of smell? In Manchester, scientists analyzed the olfactory molecules found on the skin of Parkinson’s patients and observed that they are different from healthy subjects, particularly in the sebum-rich areas against the forehead or upper part of the Backwards. In fact, Parkinson’s disease can be associated with seborrhea, a more intense production of sebum by the skin than normal. The experiments carried out in 2019 were carried out on samples of sebum taken from the upper back of the volunteers.

A simple and non-invasive test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease

The composition of the sebum could therefore be a biomarker of Parkinson’s disease. An interesting prospect but it is still necessary to develop a test for sebum to analyze it precisely. This is the topic of the latest research work by the Manchester team, also in collaboration with Joy Milne, published on 7 September 2022 in the journal of L’American Chemical Society.

Thanks to mass spectrometry, the swabs passed in the neck and back of the patients are analyzed in a few minutes and allow to know the composition of the sebum and to see if it presents the characteristics of Parkinson’s disease. Tested on 150 volunteers, parkinsonian and non-Parkinsonian, across the UK, the test shows that patients’ sebum is indeed different from that of healthy subjects.

In addition to the odorous molecules identified in 2019, people with Parkinson’s disease have a sebum that is richer in triacylglycerides and diglycerides. These results are very preliminary and such a simple test to detect Parkinson’s will not be available for a long time. But if it materializes, it could allow patients to be better cared for because the Parkinson’s diagnosis often falls when the neurological damage is already significant.

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