The scientific basis for “smells like”
Previous research has found that the sense of smell in terrestrial mammals plays an important role in social interactions, such as dogs often being able to tell from a distance whether an approaching dog is friend or foe. When people subconsciously sniff themselves and others, they may also be attracted to those with a similar “smell”. Israeli researchers recruited pairs of tacit friends and random strangers, and compared samples of their body odors using an electronic nose device that “smells” by analyzing the chemical composition of smells. It was found that smells were more similar between close friends than those in the random group. To determine whether the similar smell was the result or the cause of being friends, the researchers also used an electronic nose to “smell” a group of completely unfamiliar volunteers and asked them to engage in nonverbal social interactions in pairs. It was found that people with more similar body odors interacted more positively. After the body odor data collected by the electronic nose was entered into a computational model, it was able to predict positive interactions between two people with 71% accuracy. This means that body odor contains information that predicts the quality of social interactions between strangers.
“One shot to cure AIDS” may be possible
Israeli researchers have proposed a new idea of AIDS treatment based on gene editing technology. If developed, it is expected to treat AIDS and other diseases through one-time drug injection in the future. The therapy primarily uses gene editing to engineer B cells, which are responsible for producing antibodies against a variety of substances, including bacteria and viruses. After modification, B cells can activate the body’s immune system to produce neutralizing antibodies against HIV, thereby removing the virus from the infected person. In animal experiments, the researchers used the CRISPR gene editing tool to modify the B cells in the experimental animals, and accurately introduced the gene encoding the antibody into the target site in the B cell genome. All animals that received the therapy responded, producing large amounts of the target antibody in their blood. Further in vitro tests showed that these antibodies were effective in neutralizing HIV.
Menopausal women are more likely to snore
A Norwegian study found that middle-aged women with lower levels of estrogen and progesterone were more likely to develop sleep-disordered breathing problems such as snoring, irregular breathing, and wheezing during sleep. Researchers surveyed more than 770 women between the ages of 40 and 67 for their respiratory health and lifestyle, and conducted clinical examinations and blood sample collections. Blood analysis showed that the participants’ estrogen and progesterone levels varied widely, ranging from a few units per liter in some women to tens of thousands of units per liter. These changes are clearly linked to sleep-disordered breathing. As levels of estrone, a type of estrogen, increased, women were 19 percent less likely to snore. As progesterone levels doubled, women were 9 percent less likely to snore. Findings that adjusted for age, body mass index, smoking habits and educational background — some of which affect hormone levels — showed a link between female menopause and sleep-disordered breathing. The reason may be that certain types of estrogen are involved in the formation of respiratory muscles, and progesterone helps stimulate breathing.