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Friday, April 25, 2008

Too Much Perfume? Ominous Sign

When women spray on too much perfume, it might have an ominous meaning: It could be a sign they are clinically depressed. It's not that the scent has an effect one way or the other on mood. Instead, depressed women can't tell their scent is too heavy because they can't smell it. Israeli researchers from Tel Aviv University have concluded that women who are depressed may also have lost their sense of smell. "Our scientific findings suggest that women who are depressed are also losing their sense of smell and may overcompensate by using more perfume," lead study author Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld, who is a physician and autoimmune disease researcher, told LiveScience.com.

Using autoantibodies to cause depression in female mice, Shoenfeld found that the chemicals turned off olfactory gland cells, which are responsible for a sense of smell. The treatment blocked the rodents' ability to smell and caused them to lose weight. "Loss of weight is one of the first signs of depression in autoimmune disease patients," Shoenfeld told LiveScience. "If you can't smell, you don't eat because you don't enjoy the food. If you don't eat, you lose weight."

Not all women who are depressed suffer from an autoimmune disease, such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes or thyroid disease. Is the link between depression and overly scented women limited to autoimmune disease patients? "Depression operates similarly in people who do and do not have a disease," Shoenfeld explained to LiveScience, which might explain why some men pour on too much cologne, too.

The takeaway: Doctors need to focus more on smell to discern what might be affecting an individual's health. "We are aware of all the senses, but have neglected smell for a long time," Shoenfeld told LiveScience. "It was only three years ago that two scientists won Nobel prizes for deciphering receptors for smell in humans. We still have a lot of work to do in what I believe is an extremely important area."
source: Netscape.com

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