Friday, March 21, 2014

You Smell Sick

Ever vigilant in my search for the latest information in olfactory awareness, I was interested in reading the following "News from the World of Medicine" in the March 2014 issue of Reader's Digest.

Who's Sick?
Your Nose Knows

There's a subtle difference in the way sick and healthy people smell. In a recent experiment, researchers injected volunteers with a type of bacterial toxin known to activate the immune system [Almost the Translation: germs]. Another time, the participants were injected with just a saline solution. Both times they wore T-shirts. When another group sniffed scents extracted from the shirts, they rated those from the toxin batch as much more unpleasant.

Already I have questions. How much were these volunteers paid? And which was the more unpleasant task: getting injected with stuph or having to smell the injectees' Eau de T-shirt? And who thinks UP these research projects to begin with? And how much do THEY get paid?

One bright spot, according to the article: there seems to be a practical use for all this.

Researchers believe this finding may one day help contain disease outbreaks: Sensors at airports could screen out sick people, for example.

While I wish there had been a smell-induced weeding out of passengers on the last flight I took...especially the salami-eating guy who sat in front of me...I feel the need to wave the yellow flag of Look-Out-Your-Personal-Freedoms-Are-Being-Encroached-Upon. This will most certainly lead to odor profiling of a most heinous nature.

"Alright, ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to step over here so our dog can sniff you a little better...Yes, his nose is registered as an official tool of Homeland Security and he has every right to stick it wherever he wants."

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