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It’s Official: Old People Smell Bad.

May 31, 2012

It’s something I’ve been convinced of for years, old people smell funny and now there’s the scientific evidence to prove it.

Aiming to settle a lingering debate about the existence of so-called ‘old people smell,’ a study just released confirms that, yes, there is a stench distinctly characteristic to the elderly and it’s actually quite unpleasant.

Researchers at the “Monell Chemical Senses Center” in Philadelphia (No, I’m not making this up), collected “body odour” samples from at least 12 people in three age groups — young (20-30), middle-age (45-55), and old-age (75-95) — by having each individual sleep for five nights in a row wearing T-shirts concealed with “underarm pads.”

A group of 41 young evaluators were then asked to “sniff the odor samples” and identify which samples came from older people.

They were also asked to rate the “intensity” and “unpleasantness” of each odor and estimate the donor’s age.

Using their noses, participants were able to distinguish between the three age categories, according to the findings published in the journal PLoS ONE.

The evaluators in the study found the body odors from the old-age group were in fact less intense and less unpleasant than the scent of middle-aged and young individuals.

‘Elderly people have a discernible underarm odor that younger people consider to be fairly neutral and not very unpleasant,’ said senior author Johan Lundstrom.

‘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.’

The researchers theorized that age-related smells in humans might serve to transmit important social information, as they do for non-human animals.

‘Similar to other animals, humans can extract signals from body odors that allow us to identify biological age, avoid sick individuals, pick a suitable partner, and distinguish kin from non-kin,’ Lundstrom said in a statement.

However, it remains a mystery as to why old people smell like an old bit of urinated on old carpet that’s been locked up in some musty old wardrobe for half a century.

 

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42 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2012 4:50 pm

    I didn’t know TB was of Asian heritage……

  2. el gordo permalink
    May 31, 2012 5:10 pm

    This post is ageist.

  3. TB Queensland permalink
    May 31, 2012 5:39 pm

    I didn’t know TB was of Asian heritage……

    Just add it to your list, James … 🙂

    Its not ageist, egg, its fkn confusing … the title implies that old people smell … then goes on to tell us they don’t and then we get the, Blogmasta, contradicting everything he’s fkn written (although not unusual in my experience with, Jummy, here and on a number of other blogs) …

    And what happened to the people between 30 and 45 and 55 and 75? Don’t they perspire?

    Smell and “beliefs” are a funny thing … if I go to a gathering of people of various ages (party, dinner, BBQ) they often greet with a hug and a peck on the cheek … invariably a couple of the young ladies will say soemthing like “… whooo you smell noice …” and a couple of the older girls will say “… I know that fragrance what is it?” … The Minister and I always have a chuckle … I have used Old Spice since I was sixteen … two of my grandsons also slap the good stuff on now too …

    Unfortunately the makers of Old Spice have decided to change the formula recently and therefore the fragrance … OS is still the most used aftershave in the WORLD! 😯

  4. public toilet permalink
    May 31, 2012 6:06 pm

    It’s true. They carry the ingrained stench of the march through decades of exploiting the world around them.

    It is thought that boomers are the most pungent by far.

  5. May 31, 2012 6:17 pm

    FMD. Old spice. ….. Why am I not surprised..

  6. May 31, 2012 6:27 pm

    BTW, even though Miami is a fetid shithole that God hates, I don’t think it should be legal to eat people’s faces there.

  7. Splatterbottom permalink
    May 31, 2012 6:36 pm

    “I’m on a horse!”.

    Also, was that faces or faeces?

  8. TB Queensland permalink
    May 31, 2012 6:41 pm

    FMD. Old spice. ….. Why am I not surprised..

    But you don’t give a rat’s arse what girls think about your “odoure”, mon ami!

    I could think of a few odors for vu de monsour but inappropriate on zis familar blog … he?

    I wouldn’t mind but many of you buggers are rapidly ageing … ’tis only a number … that’s the joke …

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    BTW, even though Miami is a fetid shithole that God hates, I don’t think it should be legal to eat people’s faces there.

    I agree! New Orleans might be a bit different! (oh dear, ‘scuse the pun) :-~ (a nearly lawst ma tilde thean … little fucker!)

  9. TB Queensland permalink
    May 31, 2012 6:44 pm

    Aw shiat! It’s nawt a tilde, its a fuckin’ kweastchun maruk … laek theas … 😕 but the mauth looks laike a tilde don’t it? 🙂

  10. el gordo permalink
    May 31, 2012 6:46 pm

    I’m putting my forms in tomorrow and I’ll be laffing, beat TB by a whisker.

  11. TB Queensland permalink
    May 31, 2012 6:47 pm

    Also, was that faces or faeces?

    uuawrrrwer! … this is a family show, sp!

  12. TB Queensland permalink
    May 31, 2012 6:48 pm

    I’m putting my forms in tomorrow and I’ll be laffing, beat TB by a whisker.

    What forms, egg?

  13. el gordo permalink
    May 31, 2012 7:02 pm

    Old Age Pension.

  14. TB Queensland permalink
    May 31, 2012 7:58 pm

    My forms went in two eeks ago, egg, … and we were in Centrelink yesterday because they had “questions … we had to provide info on, The Minister, and how I had survived before applying for the pension! 😯 “Frugally”, I said …

    Same old, same old … questions never asked when I was called up for National Service (or cannon fodder as Toillette and I call it!) … but apply for some of my high taxes back and — who, why, what, where, how and whens from all directions … with a smile of course … 🙂

    You’d think the government didn’t know how to use computers to store information wouldn’t you … shaking head as I type!

  15. TB Queensland permalink
    May 31, 2012 7:59 pm

    an “eek” is 10 working days as compared to a “week” or 14 days including the weekends …

    … an eek doesn’t have a weekend …

  16. el gordo permalink
    May 31, 2012 8:02 pm

    The paperwork is a pain, but my brother in law (who only drinks red) said its been well worth the effort.

  17. TB Queensland permalink
    May 31, 2012 8:05 pm

    I pissed myself laughing feel rather sorry for anyone with a self managed super fund who has to apply for a pension …

  18. June 1, 2012 9:00 am

    So I don’t smell too bad then compared to the middle-agers and the youngsters. Well there you go! There’s something positive (albeit rather trivial) about ageing. Now if they can just fix the advancing decriptude, failing brain, crappy vision there’ll be a good reason for living beyond the three score and ten. Or should that be four score and five now?

  19. TB Queensland permalink
    June 1, 2012 9:20 am

    Don’t forget the buggered hearing, dek!

    I was going to post something else but I forgot what it was …

  20. June 1, 2012 9:21 am

    What…?

  21. JAWS permalink
    June 1, 2012 9:41 am

    Dont worry too much

    The best thing about the trials and tribulations of being a senior citizen is that in most cases its over fairly quickly…

  22. el gordo permalink
    June 1, 2012 9:47 am

    Interest rates are set to fall to unbelievable depths and the self funded retirees will be lining up in droves to get a handout.

  23. JAWS permalink
    June 1, 2012 10:09 am

    That’s why the smarter SFR’s own a few high yield stocks

  24. JAWS permalink
    June 1, 2012 10:13 am

    All Ords off 0.4% from the start

  25. JAWS permalink
    June 1, 2012 10:22 am

    De La Rue which is the Worlds largest printer of bank notes and security paper is denying rumours of a massive order to start printing Greek Drachmas.

    Mmmmmmmmmmmm……………!

    Never believe anything until its officially denied

  26. el gordo permalink
    June 1, 2012 10:39 am

    ‘… until its officially denied.’

    That’s funny.

  27. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    June 1, 2012 11:18 am

    Meanwhile the usual suspects are attacking Qantas CEO Allan Joyce for “misleading the Senate”. Because Joyce said the decision to stop operations was made on the day, but an executive said it was discussed at a meeting 2 weeks earlier.

    This seems to be further proof that hacks really have no idea about how companies are run.

    Joyce would have taken advice from a range of areas, legal, operational, public affairs etc, in advance of the decision. This would have put him in a position where he could make an informed decision. Which he did, and which has proven to be in the medium and long term interests of the airline.

    Good on Joyce. F**k off hacks.

  28. TB Queensland permalink
    June 1, 2012 3:34 pm

    for egg,

    … phone call this morning from Centrelink … they were seeking, The Minister’s, TFN, (Gawd knows why – it’s my claim … mad scramble to find it … when she gave to the “officer” he informed her that I will be eligible for … dada! … maximum 😯 pension!

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Wally … That’s why the smarter SFR’s own a few high yield stocks

    I s’ppose that eliminates my, Metalstorm, shares then? 🙄

    I might remind anyone close to early retirement that Centrelink DO NOT recognise superannuation until you turn 65 … before that, it is not “seen” as an asset – shares are recognised (so sell and add to a good industry super – not HSU) … and of course if you need to draw down on the funds at sixty you don’t pay tax … therefore if you have a low income, Centrelink has benefits you may be able to access … ie low income health card … but as a SFR you won’t get any of the government cash handouts … SFRs are not “seen” either …

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    sreb,

    … will be creating mayhem in your old stomping grounds in September – spent today booking flights, car and accommodation … The Minister will now plan the “side trips” … anyone we should look up for you? (BTW, thanks for your advice … 😉 )

  29. June 1, 2012 3:45 pm

    Someone smell something???

  30. TB Queensland permalink
    June 1, 2012 3:51 pm

    Not until a few minutes ago ….

  31. JAWS permalink
    June 1, 2012 3:51 pm

    “I s’ppose that eliminates my, Metalstorm, shares then?”

    Faaaaark………………………are they still around ?

    I thought they went to the warm embrace of the liquidator long ago

  32. TB Queensland permalink
    June 1, 2012 4:00 pm

    0.001 😆

  33. JAWS permalink
    June 1, 2012 4:11 pm

    Yeah I just looked

    At least if they went into liquidation you could claim a capital loss against any capital gain you might make in future.

  34. June 1, 2012 4:15 pm

    TB, you should check out MONA when you’re in Tassie, as well as Salamanca markets (Saturday)… I also have some restaurant recommendations but I don’t know if they stock McWilliams “inheritance range” 😉

  35. el gordo permalink
    June 1, 2012 4:34 pm

    ‘maximum pension!’

    Congrats.

  36. TB Queensland permalink
    June 1, 2012 4:56 pm

    Ok, what’s MONA? We want to have a look at Salamanca … holidays are for spending, sreb … we’re in the big H for three nights to start and the last night … so any recommendations warmly welcomed … (for the record, our best Chinese was in Amsterdam and the best value for top service, value, food and surroundings overall was a little alfresco place in Istanbul … best brekkie The Mayfair in London … lunch at Fridays was good too but that’s because I had a chat to Bill Oddie from The Goodies … )

    yes, egg, a lovely surprise! (Another tip for retirees … the oldest runs their super down well below the assets test before 65 .. the youngest (in my case The Minister with three years to go) then draws down on assets that Centrelink don’t see … we have another strategy when The Minister turns 65 …

    Here’s The Goodies – Bil Oddie is the one with the beard …

  37. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    June 1, 2012 4:59 pm

    I had a nice meal and a few drinks here about a month ago – Battery Point. http://www.shipwrightsarms.com.au/

  38. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    June 1, 2012 5:01 pm

    I think they may have wine that meets TB’s exacting standards and price range too.

  39. JAWS permalink
    June 1, 2012 5:26 pm

    Well I hope they dont have “Happy Hour”.

    Otherwise at 5 minutes to the hour they’ll ask TB to leave

  40. TB Queensland permalink
    June 1, 2012 5:29 pm

    I was going to say thanks until I checked out the link … FMD, ToM, how did you ever get out alive … 😯

  41. TB Queensland permalink
    June 1, 2012 5:30 pm

    I don’t think they have a “happy” anything from what I could see, Wally …

    No wonder, Jummy, moved … and thinks Melbourne is wonderful …

  42. TB Queensland permalink
    June 1, 2012 6:01 pm

    At least if they went into liquidation you could claim a capital loss against any capital gain you might make in future.

    A what! LOL!

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