Thomas Ramey Watson

Different Diseases Have Different Smells

Certain ailments give off signature scents, whether it’s the baked-bread odor of typhoid or the meaty smell of yellow fever. When it’s progressed far enough, melanoma is said to give off the smell of gasoline, whereas trimethylaminuria (a disorder in which the body can’t break down the compound trimethylamine) causes the unfortunate symptom of body odor that’s reminiscent of rotten fish. Even mental disorders can release a specific smell: schizophrenia’s effect on the body’s metabolism results in a sweet, fruity odor in the sweat.

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