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Monday, October 14, 2013

The scent of disease: volatile organic compounds of the human body related to disease and disorder

Recently a paper was published on pubmed about how humans emit Volatile Organic Compounds. In the case of the 'systemic body odors' we are interested in, the strange thing is that various offensive odors can be emitted without causing any 'illness'. Usually, apart from trimethylaminuria, the medical system associates metabolic VOCs with serious health problems in humans. This paper seems to be looking at many VOCs humans can emit, although it is probably under the concept they may forecast future health problems. At least it is a step in the right direction. MeBO Research would be interested in someday finding out information as to the range of malodourous VOCs our community can emit, which seem to be a very embarrassing problem but do not cause physical illness. Judging by the abstract, the paper looks to be an 'overview' of already published papers on the subject by graduates, rather than new information.



Abstract

Hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted from the human body, and the components of VOCs usually reflect the metabolic condition of an individual. Therefore, contracting an infectious or metabolic disease often results in a change in body odor. Recent progresses in analytical techniques allow rapid analyses of VOCs derived from breath, blood, skin, and urine. Disease-specific VOCs can be used as diagnostic olfactory biomarkers of infectious diseases, metabolic diseases, genetic disorders, and other kinds of diseases. Elucidation of pathophysiological mechanisms underlying production of disease-specific VOCs may provide novel insights into therapeutic approaches for treatments for various diseases. This review summarizes the current knowledge on chemical and clinical aspects of body-derived VOCs, and provides a brief outlook at the future of olfactory diagnosis.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21771869

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