Dogs that can sniff out cancer have been in the science and medical news periodically over the thirty years I’ve been a science writer…but…something new is on the horizon, people who can smell whether you have Parkinson’s disease.
Everybody’s skin has a waxy substance known as sebum. It’s akin to lanolin in sheep. But, in PD, other chemicals are present that have a distinctive odour that some people can detect. These compounds are eicosane, hippuric acid, and octadecanal. A clinical test based on the presence of these chemicals in one’s sebum could be used to test for PD early on.
Ironically, one of the symptoms of PD is a change or loss of the patient’s own sense of smell.
Read the full story from my colleague Steve Down writing in the mass spec channel of spectroscopynow.com, Steve Down.