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As reported by the Washington Post, Joy Milne of Perth, UK, smelled a “subtle musky odor” on her husband Les that she had never smelled before. At first, Joy thought maybe it was just from the sweat after long hours of work. But when Les was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 6 years later, Joy suspected the odor might be a result of the disease.

Scientists were intrigued by Joy’s claim and designed an experiment to test her ability to “smell Parkinson’s.” Although the researchers wanted to believe Joy, there was a chance that she may not really be able to tell Parkinson’s by smell. They were not willing to commit time and resources to a larger investigation unless they could be convinced that Joy wasn’t just guessing.

You and your classmates will now do the same experiment virtually, which means that you won't be able to smell the shirts. This is the same as assuming that Joy was just guessing; let's see how you do!

Thanks to Doug Tyson for creating and sharing this activity. For a more detailed discussion, see Doug's activity or this Stats Medic lesson plan.

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