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January 28 2014

Body's Response to Disease Has a Smell

Humans may be able to smell sickness, or at least detect a distinct odor in the sweat of people with highly active immune systems who are responding to infection, a new study from Sweden suggests.

In the study, eight healthy people were injected with either lipopolysaccharide, a bacterial toxin that produces a strong immune response, or with salt water (which wasn't expected to have any effect). Four hours later, the researchers collected the participants' T-shirts (in which they had been sweating), cut out the armpits and put this fabric into bottles.

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