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Despite Internet Reports, Farts Only Have Comedic Value, Won’t Cure Cancer

On average, women live longer than men and married women live even longer than married men. The internet briefly believed that they had finally found a reason for that when they found out that hydrogen sulfide, the compound that makes farts smell like farts, can actually help prevent mitochondria in cells from being damaged. But even as this story makes the rounds again today, it isn’t exactly true.

For some reason, both Unilad and Ladbible (which Twitter tells me Labour leader and Britain’s next Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn follows) picked up the story today that “smelling farts can help you live longer” based on a 2014 experiment at Exeter University on the positive effects of hydrogen sulfide in fighting medical problems such as diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

But those spoilsports over at I Fucking Love Science had to go and throw disappointing facts at what had been, for a brief, shimmering moment, a perfectly good excuse to use when your wife gets mad because you farted in the bed.

You see, it turns out that Exeter researchers created a compound called AP39 which releases small amounts of hydrogen sulfide directly inside mitochondria, which the experiment found helped the mitochondria in stressed cells stay alive. There’s no proof that simply smelling some farts will even get the hydrogen sulfide where it needs to go, much less that it has any health benefits when taken in that way.

So while the bad news is that farts don’t cure cancer or prevent heart attacks, there are a few pieces of good news. The first is that Exeter may have developed a treatment than can help keep cells alive in the face of things like diabetes or dementia. While the drug has not reached human trials yet, it’s a promising early development. The other piece of good news is that even if farting in your friend’s face won’t cure his cancer, it’s still really, really funny.

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