Study: ‘Old Person Smell’ Is Real

The distinctive “old person smell” you may have picked up on when visiting your grandparents most likely wasn’t your imagination, a new study indicates.

When given whiffs from pieces of pads worn under the armpits of young, middle-aged and elderly people for five consecutive nights, study participants could reliably distinguish the body odor of the elderly, who were 75 and older, the researchers found.


“The results of this study support the cross-culturally popular concept of an ‘old person odor,'” writes the international team in a study published on May 30 in the journal PLoS ONE. The notion that the elderly have a distinct smell exists in multiple cultures, and usually the odor is said to be unpleasant. But this probably has more to do with negative perceptions of old age, rather than with the odor itself, according to study researcher Johan Lundström, an assistant professor at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.

It’s not yet clear why body odor changes as humans age or why humans are able to pick up on these changes. Body odors originate from an interaction between skin gland secretions and bacteria on our skin. As people age, the activity of different types of skin glands changes. This factor may contribute to the perceived change in body odor with age, the researchers write.

So far, scientists can only speculate on why this apparent signal for old age exists. Research in other animals indicates that such an odor may act as a sign of the “good genes” that have allowed a male to live into old age, making him more attractive to females. It’s also possible the distinctive odor is not a direct result of age; for instance, it could be associated with increased inflammation (part of an immune response) within the bodies of the elderly, Lundström said.

Do you agree with this study? Why or why not?

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Time

The Truth About Cleaning Your Sheets

No matter your relationship status, you never go to bed alone. Nestled within your sheets are countless intruders. For an explanation, we turned to Philip M. Tierno Jr., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center.

How often should they change their sheets?

Wash sheets and pillowcases once a week, and you’ll eliminate that debris that has accumulated in the bed for that week. You’ll be safer from breathing in that material.

Debris? How can sheets possibly get that dirty?

Human skin cells become food for dust mites. That is one of the biggest problems associated with bedding. Mites accumulate, along with their feces. But there is also animal hair, dander, fungal mold, fungal spores, bodily secretions and bacteria. Also: dust, lint, fibers, particulates, insect parts, pollen, soil, sand and cosmetics.


All this stuff is yucky, but is it a health risk?

It is mainly a threat to respiratory tracts and not an infectious source. If you have allergies or asthma, this matter can exacerbate it. If you don’t have an allergy, you could develop one because you’re constantly challenged.

Is there an ideal way to wash bedding?

The water should be 130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, typically the washing machine’s hot-water cycle. Then dry using a hot drying cycle. That is germicidal; it actually kills and destroys a lot of vegetative material. It also kills the dust mites. For extra protection, “bleach is excellent.”

Once a week, hot water. Then I’m safe?

No. To protect the mattress, I use an impervious outer cover. If you look at a mattress, it collects debris by gravity. All kinds of things collect on it that are absorbed into its core. Without the impervious cover, your mattress is a “zoological and botanical garden,” he says.

Can you share other tips for handling and cleaning bed sheets? Feel free to type in your suggestions below!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Shelter Pop