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AChems Members in the News

In an effort to highlight chemosensory science and scientists, we welcome and encourage AChemS members to let us know about any of your chemical senses accomplishments. Please let us know about any contributions that have been recognized by a third party such as newspapers, radio, science news websites, etc. Send your information to the AChemS executive office (info@achems.org) to potentially be published on the AChemS website.

Simple feeding tweak could give premature babies a taste of better health

Giving very premature babies a smell and taste of the milk they are being fed may help improve their brain development, groundbreaking research has found.

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Post-viral effects of COVID-19 in the olfactory system and their implications

The mechanisms by which any upper respiratory virus, including SARS-CoV-2, impairs chemosensory function are not known. COVID-19 is frequently associated with olfactory dysfunction after viral infection, which provides a research opportunity to evaluate the natural course of this neurological finding.

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Monell Center President and CEO Announces Plans for Stepping Down

The Monell Chemical Senses Center announced today that its current Director and President Robert F. Margolskee, MD, PhD, will be stepping down as Director by June 30th, 2022, after which he will remain as a part-time faculty member to complete several research projects in progress.

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Hundreds Reported Abnormal Menstruation After Exposure to Tear Gas, Study Finds

A scientific paper expands on social media reports of sudden onset of periods, spotting and other menstrual peculiarities during last summer’s protests in Portland, Oregon.

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Q&A: What Taste and Smell Tell Us During COVID-19 and Beyond

Nancy Rawson spent some time with the AWIS staff answering their far-reaching questions about her career in academia and industry studying the biology of taste and smell.

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Why lost sense of smell from COVID-19 is a serious threat to patients' quality of life

AChemS member, University of Florida Professor, and Editor-in-Chief of our society journal Chemical Senses, Dr. Steven Munger, raises awareness in a USA Today opinion piece about the importance of olfaction for our daily lives and how olfactory loss due to COVID-19 is a threat to patients’ quality of life.

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Some Covid Survivors Haunted by Loss of Smell and Taste

As the coronavirus claims more victims, a once-rare diagnosis is receiving new attention from scientists, who fear it may affect nutrition and mental health.

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COVID’s toll on smell and taste: what scientists do and don’t know

Researches are studying the sensory impact of the corona virus, how long it lasts and what can be done to treat it.

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Monell Center/Temple University Team Receive NIH Funding for Non-traditional Technologies to Fight COVID-19

A Monell Chemical Senses Center and Temple University team recently became part of a new, multi-institute National Institute of Health (NIH)-funded initiative called the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostic Radical program (RADx). The NIH invested $107 million at 43 institutions across the country to support non-traditional and repurposed technologies to combat the pandemic and address future viral disease outbreaks.

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Taste Aversion Reveals How Bad Experiences Modify Brain and Behavior

A new study by the labs of AChemS members Arianna Maffei and Alfredo Fontanini at Stony Brook University shows how a stomach ache associated with a novel, appealing food forms an aversion to that food also reveals how areas of the brain may work together to alter behavior based on good or bad experiences. The study is published in eLife.

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Taste Aversion Reveals How Bad Experiences Modify Brain and Behavior

What happens in our brain that makes us experience the sweet taste of a donut or the bitter taste of tonic water? What are the patterns of neural activity responsible for the perception of taste? A new study from the lab of AChemS member Alfredo Fontanini at Stony Brook University found that the map of neural responses mediating taste perception does not involve, as previously believed, specialized groups of neurons in the brain, but rather overlapping and spatially distributed populations. The study is published in Current Biology.

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Can Artificial Sweeteners Keep Us From Gaining Weight?

Artificial sweeteners hold the promise of satisfying your sweet tooth without the downside of excess calories, and they are increasingly used in products ranging from diet sodas and powdered drink mixes to yogurt and baked goods. But whether using them can prevent weight gain — a problem many people are struggling with during the coronavirus lockdowns — has long been an open question.

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How ‘Umami’ Redeemed MSG

Salty, sweet, sour, bitter. Scientists once thought these were the only tastes, but in the early 20th century, a Japanese chemist dissected his favorite kombu broth and discovered one more: umami. In recent years, umami has become a foodie buzzword, but for nearly a century, the Western world was in full-blown umami denial—didn’t believe it existed. And we might have stayed that way if it weren’t for our most notorious and potent source of umami: MSG.

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Babies

Watch Julie Mennella in the second installment of #BabiesOnNetflix in the "Senses" episode, starting this Friday June 19th, where it explores how what mom eats during pregnancy shapes her baby’s food preferences and that a baby’s palate and food memories are shaped before birth.

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Why COVID-19 Makes People Lose Their Sense of Smell

One morning a few weeks ago I was chatting with my friend Horacio, a mathematician in the New York City area. He told me he’d lost his sense of smell for a couple of weeks in April. He was cooking for Passover and couldn’t even smell the gefilte fish. He didn’t think much of it and didn’t connect it to the fact that he had been slightly ill for a few days. I suggested that he get tested for antibodies of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19; and that he take an online survey for smell and taste symptoms associated with recent respiratory illness (more on that shortly). It turned out Horacio had antibodies, so he signed up to donate plasma. This was a lucky diagnosis aided by timing and geography; smell and taste symptoms associated specifically with COVID-19 seem to appear as sudden hyposmia or anosmia (decrease or loss of smell), but just because you can’t smell doesn’t mean you have the virus.

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For Some With Coronavirus, Loss of Smell and Taste Can Linger

In late April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added the loss of smell and taste to the list of known COVID-19 symptoms. Some experience this symptom along with others, like fever, cough, and shortness of breath; others experience it on its own. Now, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, some who experienced the loss in senses have yet to see them return.

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