Is It True that As People Grow Older, They Develop A Certain Distinct Smell?

My curiosity was heightened when I came across an article from a medical website that talked about a study conducted to see if old people really have a distinct smell commonly associated with or equated with old age. Since I want to find out the answer, I went ahead and read the whole thing and was amazed at what I learned.

The study was done by researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. It involved 3 groups of people from 3 age brackets: 20 to 30 years old (1st group), 45 to 55 years old (2nd group), and 75 to 95 years old (3rd group). Each group had 12 to 16 people, both men and women.

How the Study Was Conducted

For 5 days, all of them were made to wear clothes, upper shirts in particular, which are free from any type of odor or scent. They were also made to wear underarm pads. The pads were collected every morning and were placed in individual glass jars. After the 5 day-test, 41 young people with ages between 20 to 30 years old were called to conduct the evaluation. These young people were asked to smell the under arm pads and to identify which pads came from which age group.  They were also asked to describe the scent, smell, or odor of the pads.

What Did They Find Out?

Well, most of the 41 evaluators were able to identify the pads which came from the 3rd group of people – the older people.  When the evaluators were asked to describe the odor or the smell of the pads from the 3rd group, they did not classify it as foul smelling or unpleasant. They did, however, classify one particular group’s smell as unpleasant – that of men belonging to the middle age group.

So Who Smelled the Best?

The result of the study showed that middle-aged women smell the best, followed by old men, then young women, then old men, followed by the young men, and the group that did not smell good was the group of the middle-aged men. Let’s put the result this way, from best smelling down to the group who smelled not-so-nicely:

  1. Middle-aged women
  2. Old men
  3. Young women
  4. Old women
  5. Young men
  6. Middle-aged men

Well, this is according to the study done in the research institute in Philadelphia. Would you agree on their findings?

I like the result though (lol) – simply because I belong to the group that smelled best: the group of the middle-aged women! But more than that, I hope that when the time comes when I will have grandchildren of my own, I want them to describe me as their sweet smelling Mommyla … huggable and sweet smelling like home cooked cookies!

Now I fondly remember my Lola and Lolo … they had this “homey” smell … the kind of smell that made them very huggable. Yes, that’s how I remember my grandparents, huggable with their smell that tells me I’m home and safe.



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