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The delicious scent of baking bread wafting out from the open doors of a nearby bakery can act like a time portal, instantly sweeping you from a busy street in New York to a tiny cafe in Paris that you visited years ago. Scent particles, in general, can revive memories that have been long forgotten.
But why do smells sometimes trigger powerful memories, especially emotional ones?
In a laboratory in Denver, on a decommissioned U.S. Army base, a baby sits in a high chair with two electrodes attached to his chest. To his left, on a small table, a muffin tin holds four numbered cups, each filled with a green substance. On the walls and the ceiling, four cameras and an omnidirectional microphone record the baby’s every burble and squawk, then transmit them to a secure server in an adjacent room. What looks like a window with blinds, across the room from the baby, is in fact a two-way mirror with a researcher behind it, scribbling notes. The baby’s mother takes a spoonful of the first sample and lifts it to the baby’s mouth, and the experiment begins.View Here
Newly discovered chemical-sensing cells in the gums protect the mouth by standing guard against infections that damage soft tissue and destroy the bone that supports the teeth. With the help of bitter taste receptors that also detect byproducts from harmful bacteria, these special gum cells trigger the immune system to control the amount and type of bacteria in the mouth and could one day lead to personalized dental treatments against gum disease.View Here
Salt has played an essential role in trade, culture and nutrition throughout history – as far back as 6050 B.C., according to some reports. However, in all that time, one mystery has remained: How exactly do humans and animals taste salt?View Here
Around 5% of us will lose our sense of smell because of a viral infection, ageing, nasal polyps or a head injury. Anosmia can affect quality of life and lead to mental health problems like depression. Prof Thomas Hummel, an ear, nose and throat expert at the University of Dresden in Germany, explains how smell training can help some people with the condition regain their sense of smell.View Here
When we eat sour food, we instantaneously react due to a taste-sensing circuit between the tongue and the brain. Two papers published today (September 19)—one in Cell and the other in Current Biology—show that the otopetrin-1 proton channel in the tongue’s sour taste receptors is one of the components responsible for sour taste sensing in mice.View Here
During an extended period of travel last year, my husband and I lent our house in the Ozarks to an older couple who were having work done on their own house.
We returned after a month away to a spotless house and two hostess gifts. But there was also a distinctive smell in the air: slightly stale and sweet, like the musty first whiff of strawberries in a cardboard box.
Six years ago, Atelier Cologne founder Sylvie Ganter was presented with a challenge by her husband and business partner Christophe Cervasel: to create a signature scent for Majestic, a five-star hotel located in the heart of Barcelona, in celebration of its 100-year anniversary. She had six years of developing, conceiving, and perfecting fragrances for her consumers. But for a building? “I had no clue where to even start,” she recalls. “I had never done anything like this.”View Here
In 2012, computer scientist Dharmendra Modha used a powerful supercomputer to simulate the activity of more than 500 billion neurons—more, even, than the 85 billion or so neurons in the human brain. It was the culmination of almost a decade of work, as Modha progressed from simulating the brains of rodents and cats to something on the scale of humans.View Here
Americans tend to associate our health problems with sin. It’s hard to find a health story in the press that doesn’t blame greed and lack of willpower for our ongoing epidemics of obesity and diabetes as well as a recent upturn in the rate of heart disease. But the problems stem more from a greedy food industry than from any weakness in consumers. Our supermarket shelves are filled with items made with cheap ingredients, especially sugar and corn syrup, whether people want it or not.View Here
In mice whose sense of smell has been disabled, a squirt of stem cells into the nose can restore olfaction, researchers report today (May 30) in Stem Cell Reports. The introduced “globose basal cells,” which are precursors to smell-sensing neurons, engrafted in the nose, matured into nerve cells, and sent axons to the mice’s olfactory bulbs in the brain.View Here
The scent of lily of the valley cannot be easily bottled. For decades companies that make soap, lotions and perfumes have relied on a chemical called bourgeonal to imbue their products with the sweet smell of the little white flowers. A tiny drop can be extraordinarily intense.
If you can smell it at all, that is. For a small percentage of people, it fails to register as anything.
The tongue does not just detect taste, but might pick up on odours too, according to research shedding new light on how we perceive flavour.
The tongue has long been known to detect whether something tastes sweet, sour, salty, bitter or umami (savouriness) thanks to cells that carry taste receptors – proteins that interact with particular molecules in food.
Twenty-five sommelier students outperformed an untrained ‘control’ group of 29 people at identifying a range of common wine aromas within around two months of education, according to a study recently published in the journal Chemosensory Perception.View Here
Will new airplane aromas help make flights more pleasant?
United frequent flier Katherine Wenglikowski loathes the stinky smell of public bathrooms, but she was pleasantly surprised by what she found in the lavatory on a recent United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Newark, N.J. The aroma of grapefruit.
Your emotions are directly tied to the smells you experience. Join Rachel as she takes you on a tour of how smell affects the lives of everyone, from finding your spouse to survival.View Here
Neuroscientists have found a pathway in the brain where taste and pain intersect in a new study that originally was designed to look at the intersection of taste and food temperature. This study was the first time researchers have shown that taste and pain signals come together in the brain and use the same circuitry.Read More