Smellicious

Smellicious

This past week in the office we had an etiquette offense.

Someone had some lunch that was smell-eeeee!

The whole suite was reeking from it.

First one person runs up to me as I enter the suite and says, “Did you smell it?”

Just getting over a cold, I say innocently, “Smell what?”

Then as I head down the hall, even the sniffles doesn’t protect me from whatever’s been cooking in lunch-land.

Ick–it’s like a combination of day old leftovers that have been warmed over with a foul fishy smell combusting the whole work area.

Next, I see one guy running around the cubicles with a air freshener–spraying and spraying–everywhere.

Followed by a lady, with a similar aerosol, sticking her head in the offices and giving a spritz or two or three.

Colleagues were gathering to discuss the stink and venture guesses as to who the culprit was that would invoke such horror in the office.

Jokes and mild-mannered innuendoes followed to sort of lighten the mood of the folks that had been working extra hard the last few months.

The stick stunk for almost 24-hours, but despite the bad smell in the air, the gregarious mood made up for it–as it was just another event we could bond around–the smell, the sights of the people running around with air fresheners, and the good-natured ridicule on who would offend and break the professional code of conduct–and leave everyone gasping for breath. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Sniffing Out Cancer

Metabolomx

A few years ago, researchers found that Dogs could actually identify people with cancer at a 99% accuracy rate by simply smelling human’s breath.

One of the problems with this diagnostic method though is that hospitals and doctors offices have not been inclined to house and care for these animals in medical facilities treating people.

Technology to the rescue and this one has no dog in the fight…

The Metabolomx is a computing machine with attached breathing tube that can be rolled over to a patient who breathes into it for just 4 minutes to can get a diagnose on the spot.

This is very different from current methods and is without painful and intrusive tests (such as biopsies) or waiting weeks for lab results to come back and be read by your doctor.

The machine captures and analyzes the chemistry of the person’s exhaled breath in the form of aerosolized molecules and determines it’s “smell signature”.

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek (5-11 March 2012), by comparing the sample smell to the biomarkers for cancer, the Metabolomx has already achieved an 80% success ratefor detecting lung cancer.

A newer version of the machine is 100 to 1,000 times more sensitive, which should greatly improve accuracy, hopefully hitting at or above 93%, which will make it viable for commercial use.

The Metabolomx is envisioned be able to detect and differentiate between various types of cancer such as lung, breast, colon, and more.

Moreover, this technology is not limited to just cancer–but other companies such  as Menssana are testing it with tuberculosis and pediatric asthma.

Further, another benefit of the Metabolonx is that is can not only be used to diagnose cancer, but to signal reduction or elimination of the cancer with various treatments.

I hope the next step for technology like the Metabolomx is to not only detect the cancer, but be able to “zap it” and rid it from our bodies–then we’ll have a technology that can really snuff out the cancer.