Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sniffing it out ... in 2050


Smell is an incredibly powerful sense even though us rubes are pretty bad at it. From onions to roses, the world is a better place for not only happiness but also for health as science is beginning to tap into this often under looked sense to sniff out disease without the need for probes, needles or other instruments of destruction. :)

It’s 2050 and you’re due for your monthly physical exam. Times have changed, so you no longer have to endure an orifices check, a needle in your vein, and a week of waiting for your blood test results. Instead, the nurse welcomes you with, “The doctor will sniff you now,” and takes you into an airtight chamber wired up to a massive computer. As you rest, the volatile molecules you exhale or emit from your body and skin slowly drift into the complex artificial intelligence apparatus, colloquially known as Deep Nose. Behind the scene, Deep Nose’s massive electronic brain starts crunching through the molecules, comparing them to its enormous olfactory database. Once it’s got a noseful, the AI matches your odors to the medical conditions that cause them and generates a printout of your health. Your human doctor goes over the results with you and plans your treatment or adjusts your meds.

Dogs are really good at this as are rats ...


ODOR & HOOCH: Peer-reviewed studies show dogs can be trained to detect signature scents of diseases, including cancer and tuberculosis. But in the long run, a “sniffing” computer would be more economical and effective.

Recent research finds that many diseases, including cancer, tuberculosis, and Parkinson’s, can manifest themselves through volatile compounds that change the person’s scent. Our bodies release certain metabolites—products of our metabolic activities. Some of these molecules are volatiles and become part of our scent, or “odorprint.” When we become sick or start developing a disease, our metabolic processes start functioning differently, emitting different volatile molecules or mixtures of them, so our odorprint changes too. “These molecules carry information about our state of health,” Koulakov says. For example, patients with Parkinson disease produce an unusually high amount of sebum,1 a waxy lipid-rich biofluid excreted by the sebaceous glands of the skin, which sensitive noses can detect. Deep Nose could grab this information from the thin air. That could allow physicians to detect disease sooner, easier, and perhaps avoid some invasive diagnostic procedures. “It would essentially revolutionize the diagnostics system,” Koulakov says.

Yes indeed.

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