Breakthrough Test May Make It Easier to Diagnose Parkinson’s Using Skin Swabs

Researchers at the University of Manchester have developed a new technique to detect Parkinson’s disease. The study was based on an observation made by one individual who found out that they could distinguish Parkinson’s disease in individuals from their body odor, even before their clinical symptoms began to present.

The study discovered lipids of high molecular weight that were significantly more active in individuals with Parkinson’s disease, which is a brain disorder that causes movements to be uncontrollable. This may cause stiffness, shaking and difficulty with balance and coordination. In the long term, individuals with this disorder may find it hard to walk.

Research has shown that Parkinson’s distinct odor is strongest where sebum gathers on an individual’s upper back. Sebum is a sebaceous gland secretion. These glands are located under the skin and are connected to the body’s endocrine system. Researchers have discovered that this oily secretion can be used as a diagnostic bio-fluid.

For their research, the scientists used cotton swabs to sample sebum from individuals and identify the compounds present with mass spectrometry. Their sample included 79 individuals with Parkinson’s disease, who were compared against a healthy control group comprised of 71 individuals.

The technique the researchers developed involved ion mobility separation combined with paper spray ionization mass spectrometry, which can be performed in under three minutes, including result production. The method is noninvasive and simple. It involves sebum being swabbed from the back of an individual and sent in the mail to the laboratory.

The study’s lead, Professor Perdita Barran, stated that the group was excited by the study’s results, which brought them closer to making a diagnostic test for Parkinson’s that can be used in clinics.

Dr. Depanjan Sarkar, who was also involved in the research, explained that sebum was transferred to filter paper after which a solvent was then added. Once this was done, voltage was applied to the sample, which transferred the compounds into the mass spectrometer. This allowed the researchers to identify more than four thousand unique compounds.  Of this number, about 500 compounds were present in individuals with Parkinson’s disease but absent in the control group.

The study’s clinical lead, Professor Monty Silverdale, stated that the test had the potential to considerably improve the diagnosis and management of individuals with Parkinson’s.

The study was funded by the Royal Society and the Michael J. Fox Foundation, as well as Parkinson’s UK. The researcher’s findings were published in the “Journal of the American Chemical Society.”

With Parkinson’s disease diagnosis set to be revolutionized and companies such as Silo Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: SILO) seeking to innovate better treatment options, there is hope that this debilitating neurodegenerative disease may be slowed or even reversed in those that are found to suffer from it.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Silo Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: SILO) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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