Parkinson’s patients may exhale a characteristic smell

A Scottish nurse was able to “smell” Parkinson’s and detect the disease before the clinical diagnosis was made. Joy Milne smelled a different smell for the first time on her husband, a few years before he was diagnosed with the disease.

Now, Joy organized and participated in a study to identify exactly what that smell would be.

In that analysis, the scientists identified the cells in the skin that would be responsible. Thus, it is possible to make an early disclosure of who may develop the disease.

The research found that several compounds (mainly acids) are more present in the skin of Parkinson’s patients.

These substances are found in the sebum (oily layer of the skin). Although everyone has these acids, they are more present in those who have Parkinson’s, leading to skin peeling, known as seborrheic dermatitis .

The research was done at the University of Manchester, England, and may yield positive results for new tests for early detection.

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Parkinson’s disease (PD)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is progressive and chronic. Neurons can also die and, unlike other cells, they are not replaced.

Therefore, over time, people with Parkinson’s disease may suffer atrophy in some regions of the brain, causing the loss of dopamine (also responsible for motor coordination).

According to the Brazil Parkinson’s Association (ABP), 1% of people over 65 have the disease. The main symptoms start to appear from the age of 50, in the vast majority of cases.

The most common signs are:

  • Tremors: they usually start in just one hand and as the disease progresses, they spread to other parts of the body. What differentiates Parkinson’s tremor from other diseases is that, in the disease, the tremor is more frequent with the muscle at rest and less frequent in movement;
  • Bradykinesia: are slow movements that can happen in simple activities. In this condition, the person has difficulty making voluntary movements;
  • Stiffness: the muscles are not given the command to “relax”, so the muscles are always stiff.

There is still no test that can be done to diagnose Parkinson’s. The disease is identified with the neurologist’s assessment of the patient’s symptoms and medical-family history.

The forms of treatment of the disease include: medicines, physiotherapy, therapies (for example: occupational and psychological) and in more extreme cases, surgery. Parkinson’s has no cure or prevention.