Such interactions across cultures often times can be difficult even in the best of situations. In many cultures, what is considered acceptable interactions in one culture often times translates as inappropriate and rude interaction in another culture.
If a mouse could detect the whiff of an immune response and avoid a colleague with an onboard pathogen, their ability to survive would be enhanced. This is not just idle theory ; it is now well established that rodents can avoid sick individuals through odor detection alone.
Humans also appear to be able to sniff out those who are currently embarking on an immune response, and a study published in the journal Psychological Science put it to the test. First, samples of body odor were taken from a group of healthy volunteers.
Then, the scientists triggered an immune response by injecting the participants with endotoxin. Their body odor was once again sampled, and then assessed and rated. Moreover, this effect was statistically mediated by the individuals' level of immune activation.
Interestingly, the differences in odor could be detected within just 4 hours of the immune system being triggered. It is also worth noting that the sick people did not sweat more, and that the smell was not only stronger, but different, as well.
How can immune response alter body odor? Before we answer this question, it is worth also asking, "What is body odor? Body odor is, in fact, a complex and variable cocktail of compounds, including exotically named chemicals such as Emethylhexenoic acid, 3-methylsulfanylhexanol, and sulfanylalkanols.
There are a number of ways that an infection could modify a person's aroma. Firstly, our bodies are rammed to the rafters with microbes, some of which play a role in the way we smell.
Therefore, a pathogen that alters the levels or types of these microbes could also adjust our body odor. Secondly, genes associated with the major histocompatibility complex that control the body's immune response also influence odor and mating preferences in mice.
Thirdly, an activated immune system changes the excretion of other metabolic byproducts from the endocrine, or hormonal, system. For instance, levels of corticosterone in the blood are elevated during an immune response, and androgens are reduced.
Cancer-detecting canines The human nose is nowhere near as refined as the canine's. Over recent years, scientists have investigated whether dogs might be able to use their impressive powers to detect cancer. Could canines help to improve cancer-detection?
The findings are not without controversybut some studies have yielded impressive detection rates. For example, in one studyfour trained sniffer dogs were able to detect lung cancer in breath samples from people with accuracy rates of 68 to 84 percent.
Another study demonstrated that an 8-year-old female black Labrador Retriever could correctly diagnose more than 90 percent of colorectal cancers from breath and stool samples. She was even able to detect early cancers.
Although training dogs to be ever more accurate might be useful in diagnosing cancers early, it is not a perfect solution; it involves intense, expensive training and the time of an experienced handler. Also, there is variability in accuracy between dogs, and even in the same dog on different days.
Some studies have also produced less impressive, almost random results. Because of these issues, the current emphasis is on replicating the hound's nose with an artificial olfaction sensor, or an "electronic nose," which detects volatile organic compounds.Results from a new study may lead to approval of what could be the first drug that ameliorates potentially deadly reactions in children with severe peanut allergies.
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The best way to determine if one is vitamin B deficiencient is through nutritional testing.
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