A Parkinson’s UK-funded study, inspired by a woman’s ability to smell the condition


Parkinsons Care

How many of us can recognise someone we love by their smell alone?  Joy Milne, a grandmother from Scotland, noticed the day her husband’s smell changed. It was musky, thick, heavy. And it wasn’t until she walked into a Parkinson’s UK support meeting years later that she realised she had a superpower.

Joy shared her thoughts with a scientist at a Parkinson’s UK event. Surprised and intrigued, he wanted to put Joy to the test.

The team recruited six people with Parkinson’s and six without, to test Joy’s hunch that she could smell the condition. Each person taking part in the experiment was asked to wear a t-shirt for a day. Joy then had to work out who had Parkinson’s from smelling their shirts.

Joy correctly identified each of the six people who had Parkinson’s – an incredible feat. But what about the six people who didn’t have Parkinson’s? Joy correctly identified five of the six. As for the sixth, Joy was adamant that one man in the group actually did have the condition. Shockingly, eight months later the same man was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Not only could Joy smell Parkinson’s, she could smell the condition before it had been diagnosed!

But what does this mean for people living with Parkinson’s? Joy’s superhuman sense of smell led Parkinson’s UK to fund research that has unlocked a discovery that could lead to a crucial early diagnosis test.

Our specialist and compassionate Parkinson’s care is all about encouraging a positive mind set, adhering to established routines, and staying active. Our focus is on building a strong relationship with the client and getting to know what makes them tick so that we can introduce small steps to improve their quality of life. We’re here to listen to your concerns and hear about the mental and physical changes you’ve observed. If you wish, we can liaise with your specialist medical professionals on your behalf.

Please contact us if you need support. You don’t need to feel that you’re muddling through on your own.