The smell of old people

Tests show that older adults have a distinct odor, but it isn’t bad

By Stephen Ornes, 11:00 AM June 14, 2012

When most people talk about “old people smell,” they’re complaining about something unpleasant. But in a new study, scientists report that the scent of the elderly isn’t that bad. In fact, it’s rather pleasant, at least compared to the intense odor of a middle-aged man. Volunteer judges used words like “earthy” or “mild” to describe the elderly scent.

Psychologist Johan Lundström of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia led the new study. At his laboratory, Lundström and his t...

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