Stinky Uncle? Try Stinky Cousin: Study Finds Old People Do Have Distinct Odor But Young People Are Worse

For generations, the young have complained about the smell of old people. Well now researchers have confirmed that old people do have a distinct smell. However, they have also concluded that young people smell worse. Moreover, the old person smell is considered neutral. The study was published online in the journal PLoS ONE by researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute.

The research itself tested the commitment of the academics to science: after having the suspects bathe regularly with odorless soap, they collected their oily secretions from the apocrine glands (found in hairy part of the body). As bad as the collecting team duty was, the worse team were the ones tasked with sniffing the excretions and rating them.

Women, I have good (and probably not surprising) news. You smell better. The worst smelling were young and middle-aged men.

Source: NPR

11 thoughts on “Stinky Uncle? Try Stinky Cousin: Study Finds Old People Do Have Distinct Odor But Young People Are Worse”

  1. Pete, that came after Ted’s antics, so I have a sneaky suspicion that he had read about Uncle Ted and thought it might work to get him off the hook on murder charges.

  2. OS

    was his first name ted and after being released learn to sort of play a guitar?

  3. Now if I could see a study which said why small, <4, kids will ignore other adults, but seek my eyes. And I don't seek theirs. Just one old person among others on the same mall bench.

    Is it my face twisted by old age which makes me look like a smiling gargoyle. Or am I related to the Pied Piper? Or just egocentric? Keep your replies clean, this is a family blawg, please!!

    The worst smell is that of fear, followed by that of big stress.

    And now we know why teenagers spend so much time in the showers. Keep it clean! Myself at 17 needed one every day, or pigsty here I come. Not that passerbys increased their speed, but they did not tarry either.

  4. When I first got out of graduate school, I worked for a time on the maximum security unit of a state psychiatric hospital. Quite a few of the patients were not mentally ill, but were awaiting court-ordered evaluations for competency and responsibility. There was one guy who refused to bathe or change clothes. He did not have a water or soap phobia, but was malingering mental illness. It got really bad, and everyone was complaining. He actually developed a crust on his skin and smelled of feces, urine, and sweat, not to mention that he had dragon breath because he refused to brush his teeth. Some of the other patients asked for a couple of stiff scrub brushes, some Lysol, and liquid soap from the kitchen–and some housekeepers gloves. The psychiatrist in charge of the unit and I both knew what they had in mind but knew better than to ask for details. Six of the regular long term patients grabbed the guy, carried him to the shower, stripped him and scrubbed him down with everything but oven cleaner, using those stiff bristle brushes. It was “interesting” that the security staff did not hear a thing. After that he did not stink, and his skin had a bright pink “glow.” He also started taking showers regularly.

    The laundry refused to wash his clothes and just threw them away.

  5. Yahoo had the headline more skewed by stating that old people smell. How is this: On the basis of humans smelling humans (not someone neutral like an alien) On a range of 1 to 10 the young to middle age men smell worse than other catagories of age and gender. Big deal.
    Now if dogs were to rate the stink factor of humanoids: Fishermen the worst; women once a month second worse; butchers best.
    The cats in the neighborhood had it the same except they like Fishermen best and butchers worst.
    Dog biscuit guy, who is a certain person in the hood, is rated best of class but then again the rest of you dont have dog biscuit guy.

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