Russian scientists develop a method for detecting schizophrenia by smell. The study is based on the observation of dogs reacting differently to patients with this condition, distinguishing them from healthy people. The hypothesis is that the molecular composition of the gaseous environment – which is, in fact, the smell – is different for schizophrenics in what surrounds everyone else. Scientists continue in the first stage of the study: they will train dogs to identify patients by smell. Then the researchers plan to transfer the experiment to the lab and work with the "smell of schizophrenia" using gas chromatography.
In the first stage
Scientists from the First MGMU named after IM Sechenov, together with the Institute of Ecology and Evolution Issues named after. Seversov RAS begins the first stage of a comprehensive study on schizophrenia. Scientists around the world are involved in diagnosing this disease, but so far no group of researchers has been able to find objective physical indicators that distinguish a person with schizophrenia from a healthy person. Therefore, the hypothesis regarding the particular molecular composition of the gaseous environment around schizophrenia, presented by Russian specialists, is of great interest for science.
The idea, based on the observation of how dogs are distinguished by the smell of schizophrenia, was born in the chemistry and chemoreceptor laboratory of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution named after A. N. Severtsov of the Russian Academy of Sciences from the 70's of the 20th century. Scientists have noticed that search dogs not only can detect the smell of a certain person in the crowd and can find out the sex of the wanted person, but also
Scientists intend to first catch the smell of schizophrenia with the help of dogs and then perform a detailed laboratory analysis of the molecules contained in it.
"Research is at its initial stage," said Alexandru Nosyrev, Head of the Bioanalytical Research and Molecular Design Research Center at the Sechenov University for Translation and Biotechnology, for Izvestia. -.
We assume that the development of schizophrenia in the body affects the balance of certain substances. In particular, we are talking about substances involved in sugar metabolism.
We have set a goal to develop a methodology by which volatile components can be used to determine the initial stages of the disease.
Dog and Chromatograph
Scientists plan to take blood from sick and healthy people and dry. Then it will have to be placed on a napkin, adding a certain amount of water. Such a napkin, according to the method of presentation of the smell, is given to cheat the dogs. According to the observations, if after the presentation of the napkin, take a dog trained to a group of people, in which both the schizophrenic and the healthy patients will be present, they will distinguish one from the other by the smell of blood.
In the future, the work will be transferred to the laboratory, where the components of the odor (the molecular molecular environment surrounding the person) of the schizophrenic patients
"There are special chromatograms that emit a smell from a blood sample placed in a so-called paraphase extractor," says Alexander Nosyrev. – Then the smell is injected into a special trap, cooled and concentrated. We record the odor components on the chromatograph, and then these compounds will be considered markers of the disease.
As Izvestia said, a researcher at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution. A. N. Severtsov from the Russian Academy of Sciences, Victoria Krutova, who leads the first part of the research, the phenomenon of "special smell" was discovered in the 70's of the last century.
– For a long time, it is known that dogs can distinguish between diseases, including psychics. For the first time, such studies have been conducted by Americans, they have determined melanoma by smell. In our country, such a work is ongoing, but these were still worn out.
As the researcher said, in the experiment, dogs from the nursery spitz breed of the Severtsov Institute, and the Pomeranians and Wolfspitz, take part in the experiment. This choice is due to the fact that these dogs are completely harmless to humans and have unique olfactory abilities.
– The fact is that the spitz can not be distinguished by the natural species norms by anatomical features, such as, for example, the structure of the skull. This gives them a very good nose, – said Victoria Krutova.
In an idea
– It has long been known that neurotransmitters play an important role in the formation of psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia. So, serotonin is responsible for mood, and dopamine – for delusional states, other compounds – for anxiety and fear. Therefore, the smell of patients may indeed be different from healthy smell. But it is theoretical.
As far as practice is concerned, we can see how people with schizoid manifestations do not maintain a personal hygiene worse: they wash seldom, do not brush their teeth, do not use deodorants. This is one of the diagnostic factors.
Therefore, here, one can say that the smell of such people is different, – says Vladimir Fainzilberg.
The president of the Independent Psychiatric Association in Russia, Yuri Savenko, also believes that smelling can be effective.
– These ideas have long been in psychiatry. In general, not enough attention is paid to a person's smell. People use fragrances and deodorants, which leads to violation of nature-designed schemes, for example, choosing a partner. With diseases the same, so the correct direction and perspective, – noted psychiatrist.
In the future, the method of recognizing schizophrenia by odor can be used by physicians to identify the early stage of the disease.