We know Parkinson’s disease as that physical disability of being able to move and speak normally. One of the main problems with Parkinson’s , is being able to identify its manifestation prematurely. It is therefore very positive that a surprising case in Scotland has given researchers some hope.
A woman, Joy Milne, can detect this disease only by smell . She discovered this ability with her closest relative, her husband, who noticed a change in her body odour a few years earlier.
What is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder that directly affects physical movement in the human body . It is caused by the death or degeneration of some neurons and the known substantia nigra regions. Particularly affected are the regions called basal ganglia, whose function is to ensure the correct control of movements.
Thus, this disease produces negative effects on the physical activity of any person, such as stiffness, tremors, postural instability or slowness of speech . 75% of patients suffering from this disease are over 65 years old, while the remaining 25% are minors.
The woman who detects Parkinson’s by smell
One of the most notable dramas of this disorder is its almost impossibility to detect it in time in order to at least avoid its development in the most aggressive phase. Researchers specializing in diseases of this type say that in 90% of cases it is impossible to detect any type of symptom until it is too late.
Recently, however, the possibility of being able to prevent the aggressive development of Parkinson’s has begun to be seen. An ordinary woman with a normal life but an excellent sense of smell, Joy Milne, from the city of Perth, Scotland, saw how this has led to a tremendous advance in the field of Parkinson’s research.
Her name came up when at the University of Manchester (England), incredulous at such an event, they decided to invite her to see how true what she said was. Mrs. Milne claimed to have detected nothing less than a mere 6 years before the definitive Parkinson’s manifestation in her husband. And this was simply by sniffing a garment before washing it.
The ultimate test to prevent
The team that wanted to conduct the research, also from the University of Perth, proposed bringing together 16 people, half with Parkinson’s and half with 100% health. Of those individuals, they took clothing, both pants and shirts and other accessories.
Joy handled all the clothes, smelled them well, and without thinking too much, identified with some labels those people who would not have Parkinson’s and those who did . The result was deafening. He got it right in every case, he did it all. Years later, he was told that the clothes classified as suspicious confirmed his prediction. The owners ended up developing the disease.
“I was skeptical, actually. But it’s thanks to Joy that we’ve made so much progress in this field,” says one of the University of Manchester professors involved in the study. With such a humble and natural technique, it has been possible to detect another 10 molecules that diagnose the presence of Parkinson’s before it manifests itself completely.
In the UK, 1 in 600 people have Parkinson’s disease, with a total of approximately 130,000 cases. The trauma left in patients by the inability to detect it makes their condition worse. Many report no progress in the last 25 years, and are pressing the British government to devote more resources to research, so there is great urgency to find a solution.
However, scientists say that we must be careful with this technique of smell, because it is by no means, and despite its incredible results, the definitive test. So far, Joy Milne’s case is exceptional, and nowhere else in the world has a similar technique been glimpsed, nor has anyone else been found with the same gift.