NCBI ROFL: Women can identify men with gonorrhea by their smell.

By ncbi rofl | December 13, 2011 7:22 pm

Scent Recognition of Infected Status in Humans.

“Introduction.  There is a body of experimental evidence that mice and rats use chemical signals to avoid sexual contact with infected conspecifics. In contrast to animals, body scent of sick humans is employed only in medical diagnostics. A modification of human body odor, due to an infection, has not been studied as a potential signal for choice of a sexual partner. It might, however, be especially important for sexually transmitted infections (STI) because many such infections have no obvious external manifestations. Aim.  In this study, we have investigated odor pleasantness of young men infected with gonorrhea, Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Methods.  We collected armpit sweat and saliva from young men (17-25 years old) belonging to three groups: healthy persons (N = 16), young men infected with gonorrhea, Neisseria gonorrhoeae (N = 13), and persons recovered due to specific therapy (N = 5). The sweat samples odor was then assessed by healthy young women (17-20 years old). Concentrations of cortisol, testosterone, immunoglobulin A (IgA), and immunoglobulin G (IgG) were measured in saliva by means of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Main Outcome Measures.  Subjective rates of odor pleasantness, association of scent of armpit sweat with odor descriptors, stepwise regression of odor pleasantness and salivary cortisol, testosterone, IgA, and IgG. Results.  The odor from infected individuals was reported as less pleasant in comparison with the odor of healthy and recovered young men. The scent of infected men was more frequently associated by raters with the descriptor “putrid.” Odor pleasantness of the male sweat correlated negatively with concentration of the nonspecific salivary IgA and IgG, which was measured as an indicator of current immunoenhancement. Conclusion.  Perhaps, the immune-dependent reduction of the scent pleasantness in the acute phase of STI is part of an evolutionary mechanism ensuring, unconsciously, avoidance of a risky romantic partner.”

Photo: Flickr/TheGiantVermin

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  • Anonymous

    it seems that the sexy guys and girls are easier to get STDs DateHSV…com is a warm-hearted and exclusive community for you to find friendship, support, and even love with STD or learn about medical information about STD. If you just need to find someone to talk to or offer help or advice, this is the best place.

  • Elizabeth Boskey, Ph.D.


    Can I argue with your title? Please? It’s pithy, but it’s not accurate.

    According to this study, women can not identify men with gonorrhea by their smell. Women are more likely to identify men with gonorrhea as smelling bad (specifically as smelling a Russian word best translated as putrid), but a reasonable number of healthy men were identified as smelling putrid as well. Therefore while women can identify men who smell bad, that’s not the same as identifying men who have gonorrhea.

    A more accurate title would be “Men with gonorrhea often smell bad to women.”

  • BDNf

    This gives me and idea for another study : are there more cases of gonorrhea during winter ?

  • figo liu

    Be careful!!!STD cases on the rise!A friend of mine who works for the
    largest STD dating == Pozloving com == told me that the new subscribers have
    increased 30% over 2008. Rising STD rate sparks online dating sites.

  • andrew bloy

    sniff…you have the clap..i’m a girl- get fucking real- …i can smell whever wrote this story is a fraud and super LAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMEEEE!!! …and “dr” Bosky(phd-..yeah, me too, honey) old ladies and fags say “pithy”


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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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