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What Does Cancer Smell Like?---
10 Smells That Tell You You're Sick

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November 1, 2017

By Ariadne Weinberg, Featured Columnist


We human beings have big brains but we're are not as
evolutionarily advanced as dogs or other animals where smell
is concerned. But fortunately, even in this area, we are not
completely useless.

Our sense of smell serves us for various survival mechanisms,
including telling us which partners are best to mate with
(they shouldn’t smell bad) as well as what to eat (that
shouldn’t smell bad, either).

However, recent studies have found that humans, even with
our limited sense of smell, can even detect sickness in others
through smelling their breath or sweat.

Luckily, scientists are developing other much more advanced
technology, such as breathalyzers, spectrometry tests, and
even electronic noses. These  are still being polished. We also
get help from our canine friends, in some cases.

So what exactly does sickness smell like? As you would
imagine, never particularly good, but oddly enough, disease
often goes along with some pretty specific substances and
quite specific smells.

We've scoured scientific studies for the following 10 proven
connections between odors and disease:































1.
Prostate cancer and Bad-smelling Polyamines
     
Polyamines are a group of molecules that play an important
role in cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation.
Sometimes smelling them may be difficult for us, but dogs
sure can.

However, according to a 2016 report by Jouko Vepsäläinen at
the University of Eastern Finland, humans have developed a
method involving liquid chromatography and tandem mass
spectrometry. Research is still being done on exactly all the
elements that cause the smell of cancer.

2.
Diabetes Smells Like Rotten Apples

Diabetes might make you smell like a poisoned Snow White?
Maybe a little tragically romantic, but this has a specifically
scientific explanation: According to George Preti, an organic
chemist at Monell Chemical Senses Center, the rotten apple
smell is due to low concentrations of acetone released in the
breath.

3.
Chemotherapy Drugs and Bad Breath

Regardless of the kind of cancer you may have, treatment for
the disease may cause some smelly side effects. Sometimes
chemotherapy provokes a dry mouth reaction, and the cells
on the inside of your cheeks, teeth, and gums, are altered.
Mouth sores, bleeding gums and tongue irritation also can
occur, according to Monica Bien, physician assistant at the
San Francisco General Hospital. If you are unlucky, you may
also experience nausea and vomiting. All this leads to some
pretty nasty breath.

4.
Asthma and Nitric oxide

If you’re wheezing, your breath could have a bit of a weird
scent.

Nitric oxide may be subtle to detect as a smell, but nitric oxide
levels may be detectable by science, according to Reid Dweik,
professor and doctor at the Cleveland Clinic. Since exhaled
nitric oxide levels are much higher in people with asthma, the
current monitoring devices developed can pick up on the
quantities of the compound and detect the severity of the
problem.


5.
Lung Cancer and Volatile Organic Compounds

Lung cancer is sadly common: the disease causes 160,000
deaths per year in the U.S., more than any other cancer. As a
product of how the cancer metabolizes, volatile organic
compounds are sometimes carried in the breath.

Luckily, this can serve as a biomarker; cancer marks different
groups of volatile compounds than normal cells do. Starting
in 2007, Peter Mazzone and groups of researchers at the
Cleveland Clinic began reporting on methods to detect this
volatile organic compound smell.

One such device is a breathalyzer with 36 chemical dye spots
in array which change color in response to biomarkers in the
breath.

6.
Typhoid Fever Smells Like Baked Bread

This is a comforting, homey smell. But when emanating from
another human being, the aroma of baked bread could be a
really bad sign. This phenomenon was first recorded in a
1976 report by K. Liddell from the Royal South Hants Hospital
in Southampton in the U.K. Mats Olsson, experimental
psychologist at the Karolinska Institute later confirmed this
claim. Typhoid fever is nothing like the feeling of smelling a
nice loaf of bread in the oven; the sickness involves a 103-
104 fahrenheit (39 to 40 degree celsius) fever, stomach
pains, headaches, and weakness.



7.
Gonorrhea and Putrid-Smelling Sweat

Women have the evolutionary advantage that if something isn’
t advantageous to us, sometimes our olfactory glands tell us
first.

In a 2012 study conducted by M. Moshki from the Institute of
Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk, Russia, young men
infected with gonorrhea as well as control groups were
analyzed. Sweat samples were taken.

The odor from gonorrhea-infected individuals was notably
less pleasant than the odor of healthy and recovered
individuals, according to women who sensed them. So, next
time your suitor smells off, don’t write that off as something
superficial.

8.
Kidney Disease Smells Like Ammonia

Ammonia (what we think of as kind of a “bleach” smell) is
present in both urine and breath, when experiencing kidney
disease. In 2014, S.J. Davies from Keele University in the U.K.
did a breath test and observed that ammonia was a marker of
chronic kidney disease and severe uremia.


9.
The Common Cold and an Unhealthy Smell

One thing humans can detect is another sick human.

In 2012, Mat Olsson and researchers from the Karolinska
Institutet in Sweden did a test on eight healthy participants.
They were either injected with lipopolysaccharides, a
substance that ramps up the immune system and appears in
those with disease, or with a saline solution for control.

Volunteers wore tight t-shirts to absorb sweat over a period
of four hours. Later, forty participants smelled the sweat
samples. They rated the sweat samples containing
polysaccharides as smelling worse and even “unhealthy.”

10.
Scrofula and Stale Beer Smell

This is one of those older smells, that people diagnosed back
in the more ancient times of medicine, according to a 1995
report from W.Z. Stitt from the University of Rochester.
Scrofula is a word that refers to inflammation of the lymph
nodes in general, although sometimes the word is used to
refer to cervical tuberculous lymphadenitis.
















































































Related:
Foods That Fight Cancer
Coffee Fights Cancer -New Study

Beets Lower Blood Pressure-But There's a Big Catch / How
Much Is Too Much Salt? /Sugar-The Disease Connection /
Are Diet Sodas Bad for Your Health? / Ideal Breakfast for
Diabetics / Ideal Breakfast for Arthritis /Healing Foods Links
/
 Foods That Shrink Your Waist / Foods That Lower
Cholesterol/ VLDL-The Other Cholesterol/ Foods That
Reduce Blood Pressure


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