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Friday, June 8, 2012

Age can be detected by smell, study finds

 You can smell how old someone is, according to a study which found young people have a stronger and more unpleasant scent than the elderly.

Dr Johan Lundström, who led the study, said: 'Elderly people have a discernible underarm
odour that younger people consider to be fairly neutral and not very unpleasant
Photo: Alamy

By  Nick Collins, Science Correspondent

30 May 2012

 Catching a whiff of someone's body odour is enough to tell you whether they are young, middle aged or elderly without having seen them, researchers found.

 Elderly people's smell was the most distinctive but contrary but was also judged by volunteers to be less intense and unpleasant than that of younger people.

 Researchers said the change in our smell is driven by the chemicals we release through our glands and the bacteria on our skin, which are reported to vary as we get older.

 Humans, like other animals, most likely learned to identify traits like age and illness from each other's scent to help them pick a suitable mate and avoid catching disease, the scientists said.

 The idea of older people having a distinctive smell is common to various cultures around the world, and is so widely accepted in Japan that the odour has its own word – kareishu. (...)

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