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This Woman Can Smell Parkinson’s Disease Which Sounds Awesome at Parties

Six years before Joy Milne’s husband Les was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, she noticed a change in his smell, describing his new smell as “musky.” Once Les was diagnosed and Joy was often in rooms full of other people with Parkinson’s, she noticed they all had that same musky smell too. She brought it up to some scientists, which led to her being tested at Edinburgh University.

Dr. Tilo Kunath explains the experiments they did with Joy.

“The first time we tested Joy we recruited six people with Parkinson’s and six without. We had them wear a t-shirt for a day then retrieved the t-shirts, bagged them and coded them. Her job was to tell us who had Parkinson’s and who didn’t. Her accuracy was 11 out of 12. We were quite impressed.”

And this is really wack,

“She got the six Parkinson’s but then she was adamant one of the ‘control’ subjects had Parkinson’s. But he was in our control group so he didn’t have Parkinson’s. According to him and according to us as well he didn’t have Parkinson’s. But eight months later he informed me that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.”

So far they’re thinking a change in the skin caused by Parkinson’s could be responsible for the change in scent.

I feel a little bad for Joy, with great power comes great responsibility. I’m glad she has been able to help Parkinson’s research but I wonder if it’s a bit like being a psychic. You have no choice but to hear the horrible things other people are thinking. If Joy walks down the street and smells someone with Parkinson’s, does she say something? Would you? Maybe you just stare at them helplessly and hope they notice signs early.

“Hi, this is gonna sound weird but I have a very sensitive nose and I think you might have Parkinson’s.”

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