Navigation Links
How the science of deer hunting can help patients with diabetes

DALLAS, March 17, 2014 Body odor is a deer hunter's worst enemy, an alert to animals that an ominous presence is lurking, but the science behind suppressing it to give hunters an edge oddly enough could help researchers develop a life-saving device for diabetes patients. Scientists today presented the latest advances that tie together these two seemingly unrelated fronts at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society.

The meeting, attended by thousands of scientists, features more than 10,000 reports on new advances in science and other topics. It is being held at the Dallas Convention Center and area hotels through Thursday.

"The scent of a single person is a complex mixture of hundreds of compounds given off by bacteria, which live in our bodies and on our skin," said Shamitha Dissanayake, who gave the presentation. Scent compounds also come from the human body itself when it breaks down molecules to make energy. The odors are emitted through the skin and breath.

These substances evaporate easily in the air and are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In a lab at Mississippi State University (MSU), Dissanayake, a graduate student, and Todd Mlsna, Ph.D., the head of the lab, are figuring out the best way to collect and analyze VOCs from body and breath odor.

Their ultimate goal is to use VOC detection to diagnose and monitor disease, but their expertise led to a unique collaboration with Bronson Strickland, Ph.D., a colleague in the MSU wildlife ecology department. He was studying odor-reducing products geared toward deer hunters.

"The hunting community, the deer hunters in this case, are always looking for ways to beat the deer, so to speak, in terms of scent control," Strickland said. "A deer's sense of smell, like a dog's, can be anywhere from five hundred to a thousand times more acute than a human's."

Figuring out which specific ingredients of body odor spook deer is a tall order, Dissanayake said. Not only does each person give off a unique scent, but that scent varies depending on when someone eats, drinks, exercises and rests. To begin to address this challenge, he collected body odor samples from 65 subjects. Over four hours, they either wore an untreated T-shirt or a T-shirt treated with a commercial spray designed to eliminate or mask a hunter's body odor a task once accomplished with natural products such as skunk urine. The researchers tested a total of four products out of dozens on the market.

"It was a big challenge to handle such a complex data set with so many variables," he said.

So, after collecting the body odor samples, Dissanayake recruited the help of a mathematician to tailor a data-crunching program for their needs. Based on his analysis of the subjects' hundreds of VOCs, Dissanayake figured out that the sprays worked by greatly reducing the levels of 29 key compounds, either by killing the responsible bacteria, binding to the chemicals or converting them into less volatile compounds. To further narrow down the list, the next research step would entail seeing how deer react to these 29 candidates.

The techniques and analytical instruments the team used to look for deer-alerting odors overlap significantly with their methods in another area of the lab's research: diabetes alert dogs.

Formerly known as juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the body doesn't make insulin. An estimated 3 million people in the U.S. may have the disease. When patients' blood sugar rises or falls, they emit a different set of VOCs in their breath. Animal trainers have figured out how to get canines to sniff out changes in blood sugar levels, which can cause a number of symptoms including seizures. Specially trained dogs' keen senses of smell have already saved some patients hundreds of trips to the hospital. But dogs are expensive, require a lot of care, and they get tired. Enter Dissanayake and Mlsna. They hope to translate their work into a portable electronic nose to do the dogs' critical job tirelessly, 24-7.

"It's exciting to work in this field," Mlsna said. "We now have the combination of the analytical power and the computing power to really make sense of all these complicated data."


Contact: Michael Bernstein
214-853-8005 (Dallas Press Center, March 14-19)

Contact: Katie Cottingham, Ph.D.
214-853-8005 (Dallas Press Center, March 14-19)

American Chemical Society


Related biology news :

1. The future of plant science - a technology perspective
2. The future of plant science a technology perspective
3. Seismic zones, river deltas, landslides, fossil reptiles, and more new Geology science
4. Epigenetics and epidemiology -- hip, hype and science
5. NOAA science supports New Yorks offshore energy planning
6. Chemical pollution in Europes seas: The monitoring must catch up with the science
7. Top priorities in biodiversity science agreed
8. Has modern science become dysfunctional?
9. Science means innovation
10. New UH lecture series examines impact of science on health
11. Food science poised to help address needs of aging population
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/26/2015)... PALO ALTO, Calif. and LAS ... – Nok Nok Labs , an innovator in ... FIDO Alliance , today announced the launch of its ... the first unified platform enabling organizations to use standards-based ... authentication. The Nok Nok S3 Authentication Suite is ideal ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... Oct. 23, 2015 Research and Markets ( ... "Global Voice Recognition Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to ... --> The global voice recognition biometrics market to ... --> --> The ... prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs ...
(Date:10/22/2015)...  Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE ), a leading supplier of ... quarter ended September 30, 2015.  --> ... $4.0 million, a decrease of 33% compared to $6.0 million in ... of 2015 was $2.2 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, which ... same period a year ago.  --> ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... that the remaining 11,000 post-share consolidation (or 1,100,000 ... (the "Series B Warrants") subject to the previously ... November 23, 2015, which will result in the ... effect to the issuance of such shares, there ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... In harsh ... Insertion points for in-line sensors can represent a weak spot where leaking process ... series of retractable sensor housings , which are designed to tolerate extreme process ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Creation Technologies would like to ... Deloitte's 2015 Technology Fast 500 list of the fastest growing companies in North ... II medical device that speeds up orthodontic tooth movement by as much as ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... development and commercialization of first-in-class therapeutics, today announced that ... scheduled to present at the 2015 Piper Jaffray Healthcare ... at The Lotte New York Palace Hotel in ... . --> . ...
Breaking Biology Technology: