Dealing with Related Odors

Several years ago, my partner Dr. Joe Salisz and Pat Camp, a retired ostomy nurse, were trying to solve a clinical problem. Dr. Salisz had just undergone ostomy surgery and was frustrated by the smell of urine in and around his urostomy bag. Working with local manufacturers, Dr. Salisz and Pat gave me an early prototype of what was eventually to become StomaCloak and asked me what I thought.

A Novel Solution
Joe was excited because he felt the prototype made a big difference in his quality of life. While I found myself excited for him, I couldn’t quite figure out how one might prove the StomaCloak actually blocked the ability of others to detect the scent of human urine.

A Novel Idea
Time passed. One night I was sitting in the kitchen with my dog, Oakley. I had just given Oakley one of her favorite treats and she was making short work of it. I got to thinking, dogs have a much better sense of smell than humans. What if I put one of Oakley’s treats into the StomaCloak prototype? Would she be able to smell it? 

Passing the Sniff Test
As you might imagine, it was an easy experiment to conduct. Much to my amazement, Oakley couldn’t smell her treat when it was placed inside the StomaCloak! I’ve since repeated this experiment many times with Oakley and with several other dogs. The results have always turned out the same – when a dog treat is placed inside of StomaCloak, the dogs can’t smell it.

I got to thinking, given what I’ve observed with the dog treat, maybe this is how we could study if StomaCloak interferes with the detection of the odors found in human urine?

An International Study

As chance would have it, in 2014 at the Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association, I meet three Italian researchers, Drs. Gianluigi Taverna, Fabio Grizzi and Lorenzo Tidu who had trained retired bomb sniffing dogs to detect the scent of specific proteins found in human urine.

Fascinating Results

Since that initial meeting, Drs. Taverna, Grizzi and I have not only become personal friends, but also research collaborators. I’m excited to announce that in March of this year, Dr. Taverna and his team will present our findings on the ability of the StomaCloak material to block the scent of human odor in dogs at the European Urology Association Meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Experiment on Your Own

Dr. Taverna has some fascinating results. I’m looking forward to sharing them with you, after the meeting. In the meantime, experiment a bit with your own StomaCloak and see what it can do for you!

By  Dr. Brian Stork, MD, Board Certified Urological Surgeon

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