Researchers Develop Device To Detect Parkinson’s Disease By Smelling Skin

Apr, 2022 - By WMR

Researchers Develop Device To Detect Parkinson’s Disease By Smelling Skin

As per the research, the new e-nose is capable of measuring concentrations of volatile organic compounds generated by the skin’s sebaceous glands in the sebum

Current diagnostic procedures of Parkinson’s disease are based on physical examination and medical history and there is no consistent or objective basis. By the time the disease is diagnosed, it could be progressed to the mid and late stages of the disease. Now a team of scientists at Zhejiang University, China developed a new device that can measure concentrations of volatile organic compounds present in the sebum and produced by sebaceous skin glands.

People suffering from Parkinson’s disease can produce a high amount of sebum, which is an oily substance that sebaceous glands in skin produce. Moreover, that sebum consists abnormal levels of specific volatile organic compounds that give it a distinctive odor. However, this odor is undetectable to human nose, yet it can be measured through mass spectrometry process or through a gas chromatography process. These procedures although take long time and need costly, bulky equipment. The new device, e-nose developed by the scientists is a portable prototype device that mixes gas chromatography technology with a surface acoustic wave sensor, which then assesses the concentrations of particular gases depending on their interaction with a sound wave.

The team tested the e-nose on sebum samples gathered from 32 Parkinson’s patients and 32 healthy subjects, where using machine-learning algorithms, the device identified three compound of odor, hexyl acetate, perillic aldehyde and octanal. These compounds varied significantly in both the groups. The team used this device to test 24 additional sebum samples, half of them of Parkinson’s patients and half from controls with no Parkinson’s disease. The device was 70.8% accurate to identify the subjects with the disease. This rate increased to 79.2% when full body odor profile of each person was measured.

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