Your Body Knows When Death Is Near, And It All Begins In The Nose.
It is not uncommon to hear family members talk about a loved one who has passed away. One interesting and surprising anecdote often heard is a person’s behaviour prior to dying like; saying goodbye, getting closure on troubled relationships, and even giving away prized possessions. It seems they may know something before anyone else does.
Some may argue this is purely coincidence while others are confident people know when death is near. It is only natural to try to understand the death of someone we love or make sense of what happens in those final moments. Scientists know when someone dies, the body immediately begins to break down.
Putrescine, for example, is a foul and toxic scent; the result of decomposition. Researchers have come to realize humans subconsciously recognize this putrefying odour. Not only that, the scent, when released, causes an immediate response.
Animals have the ability to smell the scent of others, prompting them to react accordingly.
This is the equivalent to sensing danger whether from a predator or stronger and bigger animal from their pack.
A study conducted by Arnaud Wisman from the University of Kent's School of Psychology in Canterbury, UK and Ilan Shira from the Department of Behavioral Sciences in Arkansas' Tech University in Russellville, AK have discovered animals and humans might not be so different after all.
The ability to detect chemical scents is part of survival across the species. The threat of death is revealed through smell to humans.
Putrescine is a chemical compound released when a body decays.
It also has a secondary function as a warning signal. People have both a conscious and subconscious reaction when they are exposed to this scent.
There were four different experiments conducted using putrescine, ammonia, and water to study people's reaction.
One of the experiments included putrescine exposed at a site, people's immediate response was to move away from the area.
This is the same response around fight-or-flight reaction.
When animals feel they are in danger there are only two responses; fight off the threat or run away from it. The study revealed people react similarly.
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