News • Unique detection

'Super smeller' could lead to parkinson skin swab test

A study has identified chemicals in the skin responsible for a unique scent in people with Parkinson’s disease. The chemicals can be detected in an oily substance secreted from the skin called sebum, the researchers found.

The findings suggest Parkinson’s disease could one day be diagnosed from skin swabs, potentially leading to new tests. There are no tests for Parkinson’s disease at present. Patients are diagnosed from observation of symptoms, a process that can take several years. Scientists at The University of Edinburgh first had the idea that Parkinson’s might be diagnosed from chemicals in the skin when they met Joy Milne, the widow of a former patient. Her acute sense of smell had noticed that people with the disease have a unique scent.

Did you know? Persons afflicted with Parkinson's disease have a unique smell. This could lead to the development of a new kind of test.

Source: Unsplash/Erik Odiin

In a pilot study, Joy accurately differentiated Parkinson’s patients from healthy people by smelling T-shirts they had worn for 24 hours. Using a specialised technique that mimics the human nose, researchers at The University of Manchester analysed sebum samples of patients with Parkinson’s Disease. They identified three molecules in sebum linked to the odour caused by Parkinson’s Disease. Researchers say this could lead to new tests. The research was published in the journal ACS Central Science.

"This is a really exciting step towards a test for Parkinson’s that could cut short the time it currently takes to reach a diagnosis. Having a conclusive test would have a huge impact, not only for patients, but could also aid research for new treatments", says Dr Tilo Kunath from the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh.

Parkinson’s is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls body movement. There currently is no cure, but researchers hope that spotting affected people sooner could help them in the search for treatments.


Source: University of Edinburgh

21.03.2019

More on the subject:
Read all latest stories

Related articles

Photo

News • Thermogenesis

How Alzheimer's (quite literally) fries the brain

Researchers have shown that aggregation of amyloid-beta, one of two key proteins implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, causes cells to overheat and ‘fry like eggs.’

Photo

News • Opening the blood-brain barrier

3D-printed acoustic holograms against Alzheimer's or Parkinson's

A research team in Spain and the US has created 3D-printed acoustic holograms to improve the treatment of diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, among others.

Photo

News • High field-strength MRI

7T brain scanners offer hope for Parkinson’s disease patients

Ultra-powerful 7T MRI scanners could be used to help identify patients with Parkinson’s disease and similar conditions who are most likely to benefit from new treatments, say scientists.

Related products

Canon – Alphenix Biplane High Definition Detector

Bi-Plane

Canon – Alphenix Biplane High Definition Detector

Canon Medical Systems Europe B.V.
Canon – Vitrea Advanced Visualization

Reading

Canon – Vitrea Advanced Visualization

Canon Medical Systems Europe B.V.
Sarstedt – Low DNA Binding Micro Tubes

Research Use Only

Sarstedt – Low DNA Binding Micro Tubes

SARSTEDT AG & CO. KG
Shimadzu – CLAM-2030

Mass Spectrometry

Shimadzu – CLAM-2030

Shimadzu Europa GmbH
Shimadzu – LCMS-8060NX (RUO)

Mass Spectrometry

Shimadzu – LCMS-8060NX (RUO)

Shimadzu Europa GmbH
Subscribe to Newsletter