Human phermones

Vance Geiger (geiger@PEGASUS.CC.UCF.EDU)
Sat, 13 Jul 1996 08:18:53 -0400

I recently ran into an article in Psychology Today on human
phermones. The author is F. Bryant Furlow in the March/April
1996 issue.

Some of the findings stated in this article (no references as
this is Psychology Today):

Human females can detect MHC (major histocompatibility complex)
dissimilar males through phermone detection. This is according
to research conducted by Wedekind.

The idea expressed in the article is that humans have phermone
receptors. Women can detect through these phermones males who
have immune responses similar to themselves and avoid them
selecting males who have immune responses different from
themselves to pass more varied co-dominate MHC genes to offspring
thus giving their offspring a better immune system response.

some quotes (again no references)

"Doctors have known since the mid-1980s that couples suffering
repeated spontaneous abortions tend to share more of their MHC
than couples for whom pregnancies are carried to term. And even
when MHC-similar couples do successfully bring a pregnancy to
term, their babies are often underweight." (Forlow, 1996:45)

"The Swiss team (Wedekind) believes that MHC-related pregnancy
problems in humans are too widespread to be due to inbreeding
alone. They argue that in-couple infertility problems are due to
strategic, unconcious "decisions" made by women's bodies to
curtail investment in offspring with inferioer immune systems -
offspring unlikely to have survived to adulthood in the
environments of our evolutionary past." (Furlow, 1996:45)

Question: Is anyone familiar with this research, the findings of
Wedekind or the "Doctors" who have known this since the 1980s?

vance geiger