We’ve known for many years that dogs can sniff out certain forms of cancer, but now it seems human beings may have a similarly remarkable and life-saving superpower… simply by sniffing a t-shirt.
Joy Milne, a 65-year-old grandmother from Perth, Scotland, is making headlines for her reported ability to diagnose Parkinson’s Disease based on the scent of people’s clothing.
According to The Express, Joy discovered her skill after her husband Les, who died earlier this year, developed Parkinson’s 20 years ago.
Joy noticed a change in the smell of the clothes he had been wearing immediately, but it was only earlier this year after he died that she told researchers of what she had noticed and started working with them to investigate her skill further.
“I’ve always had a keen sense of smell and I detected very early on that there was a very subtle change in how Les smelled,” she told The Express.
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“It’s hard to describe but it was a heavy, slightly musky aroma. I had no idea that this was unusual and hadn’t been recognised before.”
The charity Parkinson’s UK is funding a study of 200 people with and without the condition, using human “sniffers”. They believe it is possible the disease could affect an oily substance in the skin.
If researchers can establish a unique odour associated with Parkinson’s, the charity believes this could have an immense impact – not just for early diagnosis, but also for the way we treat it.
“It would also make it a lot easier to identify people to test drugs that may have the potential to slow, or even stop Parkinson’s,” said a spokesperson for the charity, adding that this is “something no current drug can achieve”.
Joy said her late husband Les, who was a doctor, would be thrilled to know the research sparked by her discovery had the potential to provide a diagnoses test for Parkinson’s.
Has Parkinson’s Disease touched your life? How do you feel about future diagnosis being as simple as a sniff of a shirt? And has your sense of smell ever told you something important? Share your thoughts in the comments below.