Scotswoman Joy Milne, 72, has hyperosmia, a condition known as a heightened sense of smell. She can identify perfumes from passers-by, and she can’t stay long in the cleaning products aisle. When the nurse’s husband turned 33, she began to notice a strange smell—a musky odor that was not common in men.
About 12 years later, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Since then, Joy has participated in studies to help create a test to diagnose the condition — in 2012, she was asked to sniff T-shirts of people who have the condition and others who are healthy.
She got all the sick people’s T-shirts right, and an extra one — the patient, who was in the control group, ended up being diagnosed with the disease eight months later.
According to researchers, people with Parkinson’s experience a chemical change in the oil that coats their skin. It is this transformation that is felt by people like Joy. Scientists at the University of Manchester in the UK are trying to use this knowledge to create a diagnostic test.
The idea is that, using a swab, sweat would be collected from the back of the patient’s neck and that sample would pass through a machine to recognize the chemical element identified by Joy. The study is still in its early stages, but the team is excited about the results so far.
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Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia are neurodegenerative diseases that mainly affect the elderly population. Conditions are progressive and, over time, the patient becomes more dependent on the care of others.Getty Images
***Elderly and computer
It is common that, in the initial stage, the symptoms are confused with the natural aging process. However, family members and close people should be aware of the signs Getty Images
It is also important to seek help from doctors, because the earlier the diagnosis, the greater the chances of controlling the case and delaying the progression of diseases, as well as increasing the quality of life of patients.Disclosure
Parkinson’s causes the death of neurons that produce dopamine and play an important role in the locomotor system. Men are the most affectedPixabay
The patient’s family members should be aware of the first signs of sluggishness, muscle stiffness, and frequent tremors, which are more characteristic of this condition.Pixabay
Alzheimer’s, in turn, affects more the female population. It causes the degeneration and death of neurons, which results in the progressive alteration of brain functions.Pixabay
The most recurrent consequences are the impairment of memory, behavior, thinking and learning ability.Pixabay
Dementia is progressive and the initial symptoms are well known: memory loss and confusion are the most common. The condition affects up to 25% of people over 85 in BrazilPixabay
Speech problems and difficulty making decisions are also among the signs. However, there are other subtle signs that can alert to the development of some types of degenerative diseases. Pixabay
Vision problems: A study done in the UK by UK Biobank shows that people with age-related macular degeneration are 25% more likely to have dementiaPixabay
Hearing loss: May be linked to cellular changes in the brain. But vision and hearing loss can lead to social isolation, which has been known for years as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.Brazil Agency
Mood swings: People with early dementia stop finding jokes funny or don’t understand situations they used to find amusing and may have difficulty understanding sarcasm Pixabay
Gum problems: Research shows that oral health is linked to mental problems and may also be linked to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and alcoholism – all are also risk factors for dementiareproduction
Social isolation: the symptom can increase the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. A lack of patience with friends and family and a preference for being alone can be signs of chemical brain problems or lack of vitamins.Pixabay
Other signs that may indicate neurodegenerative diseases are: lack of interest in usual activities, difficulty performing day-to-day tasks, repeating conversations or tasks, disorientation in familiar places and difficulty rememberingPixabay
To date, there is no test that diagnoses Parkinson’s. The disease is identified only by clinical examinations, taking into account the patient’s history and symptoms.
“I think the disease needs to be detected early, as is done with cancer and diabetes. This diagnosis would mean more efficient treatment and a healthier lifestyle for patients,” says Joy.
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