The smell of Parkinson's

On BBC web news, there is a story about a woman who can tell if someone has Parkinson's by smelling them.

See here:

I asked my wife if I had an unusual odour and she said yes, I smell as though I am ill.  That's the only way she could describe it.  It's very slight.


Interesting, thanks for posting that.

Hi Martini and Tabbycat

I saw this article too.

It's intriguing, especially when you think one of the early signs of Parkinson;s is the loss of your sense of smell!



i read this article to my husband today and he looked at me in surprise.  Apparently years ago he noticed subtle changes, he said not unpleasant, but Defiantly there.  At first I felt horrified and felt the urge to run to the shower and douse myself in my Clinique aromatics, but in hindsight, wouldn't it be nice if identification could be so easy.


(the one who can't smell, but apparently has a musky odour) lol


My wife lost her sense of smell 19 years ago but had no other PD symptoms until she started with night terrors and bladder problems in 2010. In early 2013 she developed anaemia with writing problems and slurred speech it was then she was referred to a Neurologist and PD was suspected and later diagnosed.


Did anyone else lose their sense of smell a long time ago before PD ?

My husband lost his sense of smell 20 years before he was diagnosed. 


I found I lost my taste and smell a few years before I was Dx with parkinsons, thought it was due to taking blood pressure tablets.

Regarding the subject of 'people can smell of parkinsons' I'm intrigued to know what meds they are on for their parkinsons, because I wonder if it is certain meds that give off on aroma through the pores in the skin (as with garlic). Hubby said I don't have a 'smell' ,I take Ropinirole and may be taking Co-Careldopa, I wondered if the two taken together might produce an aroma.......any thoughts on this?


Hi Sheffy

From what I have read one of the test group was identified as having PD , even though they were in the non PD group , and dx a short time later so there were no PD drugs in there system.

 Live well. Cc

My mother lost her sense of smell a while before diagnosis. The article about the person identifying people with Parkinson's by their smell intrigued me. Mum certainly had a distinct 'odour,' which as I am sorting her belongings, clothes her knitting bag etc...reminds me of her (she died in 2013). I thought is was just her - but maybe not........

When I used to spend time time with her I noticed a distinct odour, or when she had been in my car, a waft of eau de Mum lingered - not an unpleasant body odour----I'd agree with Ali p that it was a 'musky,' 'musty' 'odour,'

Maybe there is something in this! If the odour was only present due to some medications - Mum was on Madopar.

BUT if the odour is present before diagnosis, then the odour can't be related to any PD drug.

Interesting and as Ali p said a good diagnositc tool - all neurologists could have a PD sniffer dog under their desks!! 


Like that one about the sniffer dog Keld made me smile!

I suppose we are not going to find out for sure really, but everyone has their own odour anyway that you can relate to. But when they have passed away, I think you notice the smell, as you say 'eau de mum' in your case, more because it is the smell you recognise as your mum. Although I have lost my sense of smell I oddly enough sometimes think that I can smell my dads aftershave and sometimes a whiff of cigarettes, he passed away 12 years ago and neither I nor my hubby smoke, how strange is that!

The mind boggles - Sheffy


Hii All,


My son used to comment on the "eau de nan" in my mother,s house.  Not unpleasant but unmistable..  Although she was never diagnosed with PD,  she had many symptoms which I can now identify with.

.Armed with the above I shall ask said son if he has noticed anything in my house.



Hi Eileenpatricia

Never thought of that, will mention to son or daughter if they had noticed any aromas !


when i read this i started sniffing myself!!!! and asked Mr D to give me a good sniff and he says the only time he notices a strange whiff is in bed if i'm particularly breezy (so to speak)!!! He can talk!!!!

Seriously though no apparently nobody i know has noticed i smell any different...or are they just toooooooooooo polite haha! one of my first symptoms 4 years before i was dx was to lose my sense of smell. I also used to wear Clinique aromatics or Estee Lauders Youth Dew...loved them both. I actually returned 3 bottles of perfume to the manufacturers complaining that they must have changed the recipe! one of them suggested that my nose had got used to the scent ...i said i cannot afford to use it that often so i disagree. All 3 companies came back to me with the same thing...." we cannot find anything wrong in our tests of this product" 

Other symptoms were gradually appearing,  stiff painful neck shoulder and hand, right side only.Trembly, terrible restless legs, anxiety, etc etc and i must say that it was a relief to get a diagnosis finally, and get on some meds. Taste and sense of smell have improved a little but those perfumes still smell OFF to me!!!



You made me laugh Dolly, I could picture the duvet lifting! As for the perfume I can relate to that as I can't smell anything and barely taste anything (not as if I drink it!!) It puts good food to waste doesn't it as well, not worth going for an expensive meal is it?

You are so right Sheffy, a flipping waste of time unless it has a strong flavour like curry, cor I could manage one right always peckish, but would it be wise before going to bed haha!!!!!  Sniff sniff!

Since being diagnosed 3yrs. ago, I have noticed my own smell has changed.......nothing unpleasant, but just different. 


A couple of observations..

I used too work in catering, it is nearly always very hot within a kitchen environment even in winter, sometimes 40c+, towards the end  of working i noticed my body tolerated the heat of the kitchen less and i would sweat more, by the end of the session i would be rinsed in sweat which isn't nice or exactly healthy or in regards too food hygiene.

Around the same time..

I also used too cook for my grandfather a couple of times a year whilst my parents went away on holiday, it was a food holiday for my grandfather in his 90's, he loves a curry,stir fry or spag bol, I would cook and grandfather would have his feet up till it was ready, as i dished up i heard my grandfather say "that smells loverly", he was in another room, myself cooking it or me sat above the plate could smell nothing.

Perhaps it is the pores in our skin that have changed in someway including the senses within our nostrils altering the way we smell physically via the proteins and oils in the pores of the skin, producing an odour and the way we sense smell and taste through our tongues.

Before awareness & diagnosis we already know for example what beef or an orange tastes or smells like so essentially that isn't totally lost if we no longer recognise it.

It may take a while, but I'm sure science will identIfy the smell molecule(s) and thus open up new avenues to investigate both causes and cures. Fair play to the lady who kicked all this episode off. 

My wife says my breath smells. Has anyone found a remedy?