How a UK 'granny' helped scientists detect Parkinson's disease through smell

A team of researchers has identified the compounds produced by Parkinson's sufferers by using the sense of smell.

This is all thanks to an elderly Scottish woman with a special ability to literally sniff out Parkinson's disease.

To date, there have been no reliable tests to detect the presence of the disease, making early intervention and treatment difficult.

But 68-year-old Joy Milne, a retired nurse from Perth, has helped scientists develop a form of diagnosis.

UK Professor Perdita Barran explains that Milne first noticed the "musky" smell on her husband Les, who later became a Parkinson's sufferer himself.

30 years ago the woman's husband began to smell differently to her. 12 years later he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

When the couple began attending group sessions with other people diagnosed with the diseased, Milne recognised the same smell she had detected many years prior.

After approaching researchers, Milne helped them develop a test that could detect the smell of the molecules.

Professor Barran and her team devised a T-shirt sniffing test for Milne who accurately identified all affected patients.

Scientists then simulated the woman's nose to using mass spectrometry to find the compounds that are biomarkers for Parkinson's disease.

The professor explains that the development will help identify at-risk patients and could improve early diagnosis of the disease to prevent the debilitating symptoms.

Joy Milne is granny from Perth in Scotland. She used to be a nurse and has a good sense of smell.

Perdita Barran, Professor of Mass Spectrometry - The University of Manchester

She's also synesthetic, which means she associates colours with smells. This helps her to identify things.

Perdita Barran, Professor of Mass Spectrometry - The University of Manchester

She was able to detect the disease by this smell before the motor symptoms set in.

Perdita Barran, Professor of Mass Spectrometry - The University of Manchester

Listen to the interesting story story on The John Maytham Show:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : How a UK 'granny' helped scientists detect Parkinson's disease through smell


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
'Ramaphosa is an a spot of bother'

'Ramaphosa is an a spot of bother'

News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson says the president's campaigners should never have asked Bosasa for a donation.

Springboks take on Wallabies in Rugby Championship

Springboks take on Wallabies in Rugby Championship

John Maytham and Independent Media head of sport and motoring Mark Keohane go through the starting lineups for the countries.

Men make up majority of more than 6,000 people sleeping rough in Cape Town

Men make up majority of more than 6,000 people sleeping rough in Cape Town

The City of Cape Town says an estimated 6,175 make up the population of street sleepers in the Mother City.

Stellenbosch students find salvation from stress in the soil

Stellenbosch students find salvation from stress in the soil

Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences says its Vegetable Garden Club is proving a huge success.

[LISTEN] Is there room for special gangs courts in South Africa?

[LISTEN] Is there room for special gangs courts in South Africa?

The idea was shared with Police Minister Bheki Cele during the crime summit in Paarl last weekend.

He didn't just appropriate that identity, he lived it  - Nomboniso Gasa

He didn't just appropriate that identity, he lived it - Nomboniso Gasa

Nomboniso Gasa addresses comments suggesting that the 'white Zulu' Johnny Clegg was guilty of cultural appropriation.

Popular articles
[VIDEOS AND PHOTOS] SANDF troops finally roll into the Cape Flats

[VIDEOS AND PHOTOS] SANDF troops finally roll into the Cape Flats

Residents were out on the streets to watch the troops arriving in Manenberg and Hanover Park on Thursday afternoon.

[WATCH] Tour de France rider smashes into spectator's cellphone

[WATCH] Tour de France rider smashes into spectator's cellphone

Cycling journalist Mikkel Conde tweeted the clip warning spectators to stop leaning over the barriers with their phones.

You made a huge mistake downloading FaceApp if your privacy is important to you

You made a huge mistake downloading FaceApp if your privacy is important to you

Washington Post technology columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler did a forensic analysis of the Russia-based app. Check it out.

'I would take the Prosus shares (25%) as well as Naspers (75%) shares'

'I would take the Prosus shares (25%) as well as Naspers (75%) shares'

Should Naspers shareholders take up Prosus shares? Bruce Whitfield interviews personal finance advisor Warren Ingram.

Woolworths (at R40 a cup!) makes the best takeaway hot chocolate in South Africa

Woolworths (at R40 a cup!) makes the best takeaway hot chocolate in South Africa

Seattle Coffee Company has the worst takeaway hot chocolate in the country, according to, uhm, "research" by Chaos Theory.

Old Mutual and Trevor Manuel are victimising Peter Moyo - Advocate Dali Mpofu

Old Mutual and Trevor Manuel are victimising Peter Moyo - Advocate Dali Mpofu

The Money Show's Bruce Whitfield interviews TJ Strydom, a journalist at Business Day and author of Christo Wiese’s biography.

How to buy a new car even if you don’t really have enough money for it

How to buy a new car even if you don’t really have enough money for it

South Africans are increasingly buying cars they can’t afford using balloon payments, says consumer journalist Wendy Knowler.

The rand isn't weak. It's the dollar that's strong. But it won't stay that way

The rand isn't weak. It's the dollar that's strong. But it won't stay that way

The rand is trading at fair value. It’s the US dollar that's overvalued. Bruce Whitfield interviews George Glynos (ETM Analytics).

[2018] Jesse Clegg (son of Johnny) opens up about money and growing up on tour

[2018] Jesse Clegg (son of Johnny) opens up about money and growing up on tour

[From the archives] Jesse Clegg talks about his famous father and attitude to money (hopes and fears, successes and failures...).