When she was a teenager, Joy Milne realized she had a very acute sense of smell. But it wasn’t until she was older and married that her super-sense became clear.
When Joy’s husband Les was 45 years old, she began to notice something odd about his scent. Les worked long hours as an anesthesiologist, and at first Joy assumed his musky odor was just sweat. But then Les grew more and more fatigued, and Joy realized a connection.
Six years later, Les received his terrifying diagnosis: Doctors said he had Parkinson’s disease.
Joy and Les began attending support-group meetings and found themselves surrounded by people with Parkinson’s disease. Joy recognized that same musty odor in the strangers around her. One day, she stood up and announced, “I can smell it in the room all around.”
But researchers were unsure if Joy’s intuition was a newfound precaution or plain old coincidence. So, they conducted an experiment with her, which you’ll see in the video below — and lo and behold, Joy did exceptionally well on the test.
Scientists now believe Parkinson’s results in a subtle change in the skin’s natural oils. Thanks to Joy, they’re working to develop a test that could provide early diagnosis.
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