Dogs arenot onlymans best friends anymore, they arehumanity’s excellent lab partners too. The following week, two Labradors and a Cocker Spaniel will start sniffing the odor of700 individuals to hone in on the molecules individuals release before creating Parkinsons disease.
The canine-human group is a partnership between Manchester University and the research charity Medical Detection Dogs. The three pooches will sniff odorsamples andthe investigators will use a mass spectrometer to identify the molecules that determinethe odor of Parkinsons. Each molecule will also be provided to the dogs to smelluntil the group can find the offenders.
A connection between a specific odor and the neurodegenerative disease was established a few years ago thanks to Joy Milne, a Scottish woman that possess an incredibly keen sense of smell. She noticed a change in her late husband’sscent six years until he acquired any symptom of this illness.
Her abilities were tested in the lab, where she was given used shirts from six individuals with the illness and six people in the management group. She stated that seven of those 12 individualshad the particular musky smell and she was put on, as a part of this management group was eight months later diagnosed with Parkinsons.
Currently, investigators dont know what odor moleculesare accountable for the specific odor Milne can detect. Skin secretions are made of over 9,000 distinct molecules, so its hard to pinpoint the particular one. That’s where the dogs arrive in.
Medical Detection Dogs have been used in cancer research for over a decade and theres mounting literature supporting the ability of canines into diagnosesome diseases. Approximately 30 per cent of a puppies mind isdedicated to assessing scents, making it 40 times bigger than the exact same place in humans.
Dogs have 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to the only 5million we humans have. They are incredible sniffers, discovering some odors that arejust 1-2 parts per trillion.
Finding an easy-to-detect way of spotting Parkinsons will hopefully helpmake investigations faster and more accurate. There is still no cure for Parkinsons, however, starting treatment as soon as possible can helpalleviate symptoms.
[H/T: The Times]
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