Do diseases smell? Well, according to doctors, a supersensitive nose may be able to detect certain odors given off by specific diseases. This could then be used to determine what diseases are present in the body, so treatment could begin immediately. This innovative idea comes from previous studies that have shown animals such dogs and rats that are supersensitive to smell could detect when there was a health problem with humans.
A mechanical nose, which is like a supersensitive version of a human nose, has been designed to smell out different odors that occur in the body when a disease is present. Using bioelectric sensors, the nose might be able to determine the presence of diseases such as prostate cancer.
The device is a complicated apparatus, designed to be as much like a real nose as possible. There’s a computer chip layered with proteins that act like normal olfactory (smell) sensors. In order to “train” the nose to pick up diseases by scent, the doctors are exposing the machine to odors and programming it to recognize which chemicals cause the odor.
The reason why the human nose can’t necessarily interpret these odors is that it is programmed to do too many other things. Having a nose specifically designed with this one purpose reduces the chances that a disease could be incorrectly identified.
The supersensitive disease-smelling technology is still being developed but it may be available as soon as five years from now. Hopefully, this technology will help to identify diseases such as cancer, infectious conditions, and failing organs without the use of more dangerous diagnostic methods such as X-rays and invasive technologies such as prostate exams. If this works out, we could have a great means of early detection — which will help doctors start treatment earlier for patients’ complicated diseases.