Smelly armpits

It's everyone's little insecurity - but some people can be drenched in sweat and smell, well maybe not like roses, but perfectly sweet - and others - well we've all smelt them. A genetic curse? It now appears not.

Scientists did tests with identical twins: same genes but one 'suffering' from smelly armpits and the other not. The point about the identical twins is that the genes are identical so something else must be to blame. Sweat itself doesn't smell: it is bacteria within that sweat, particularly under the armpit that gives off the unfortunate smell. The theory was that if you got the 'right' bacteria there, then the problem would go away.

They took the 'smelly' identical twins and spent a long time scrubbing under their armpits with anti-bacterial agents until all their existing bacteria were killed off. They then took the bacteria from the 'sweet smelling' twins and introduced into the armpits of the 'smelly' twins. The result was that the 'smelly' twins' problem disappeared. What I don't know is if this would work between non-identical persons. Is there a particular reaction between certain people and certain bacteria? Even if there was, some experimentation would surely come up with a solution for most people.

Think of the shelves of anti-perspirants that would disappear. Watch the vested interests kicking into gear if this turns out to be permanent solution to that most embarrassing of problems - one that you don't realise you have but everyone else does.

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