Can you tell if a person is young or old based on the person’s smell? A study says so and the Japanese term is “kareishu.”
The smell study of Kareishu
In that study, participants were instructed to wear T-shirts in bed for five nights with underarm pads to absorb sweat to gather the body scents of various age groups. These pads were then divided up and put into jars, where they were sniffed by lucky volunteers between the ages of 20 and 30. They were then asked to judge how pleasant the smell was and guess the donor’s age.
According to the study, the characteristic “old person smell” or “nursing home smell” or Kareishu may be universal.
Old people smell nice
Sensory neuroscientist and senior author of the study, Johan Lundström, stated that older people have a detectable underarm odor that younger people regard to be rather neutral and not particularly unpleasant.
“This was surprising given the popular conception of old age odor as disagreeable. However, it is possible that other sources of body odors, such as skin or breath, may have different qualities,” Lundström added.
According to a different study, as people age, levels of the odor-producing substance 2-Nonenal, “an unsaturated aldehyde with an unpleasant greasy and grassy odor,” and specific lipids on the skin rise, which may play a part in the scent.
Humans, like other animals, can deduce information from body scents that helps us determine our biological age, avoid sick people, choose a compatible spouse, and tell kin from non-kin, according to Lundström.
To determine the precise cause of the scent and any potential benefits it might have for humans, more research is required.
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