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Is our tongue a second nose?

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Is our tongue a second nose?

Our taste and smell might be linked more to our tongue than our brain.

Our taste and smell might be linked more to our tongue than our brain.

photo via wikimedia commons under the creative commons license

Our taste and smell might be linked more to our tongue than our brain.

photo via wikimedia commons under the creative commons license

photo via wikimedia commons under the creative commons license

Our taste and smell might be linked more to our tongue than our brain.

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New research has suggested that our sense of taste and smell are actually linked through our tongue first and not our brain.

The research conducted by researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia has provided evidence that smell and taste are linked on the surface of our tongue and not just in our brain.

Previously, scientists thought that when we ate, our tongue and our nose would pick up the taste and the smell of the food, which would be transmitted to receptors in our brain that would then help interpret the taste of foods. Contradicting what scientists previously thought, this new research opens up the revelation and possibility that smell and taste are first interpreted in our tongues.

Mehmet Hakan Ozdener, a senior author of the study, stated, “I am not saying that [if you] open your mouth, you smell,” Ozdener stressed, “Our research may help explain how odor molecules modulate taste perception. This may lead to the development of odor-based taste modifiers that can help combat the excess salt, sugar, and fat intake associated with diet-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes.”

Researchers that conducted the experiment at Monell grew human taste cells that were maintained in culture and tested for their reactions towards odor. The taste cells contained important molecules that are commonly found in olfactory cells, which are located in the nasal passages of our nose. The olfactory cells that were found in the human taste cells are the cells responsible for detecting smells.

The team that conducted the experiment used a unique method known as calcium imaging so they could see how the cultured taste cells responded to smell. With great excitement, the human taste cells that were exposed to odor molecules responded in a similar way as olfactory cells would.

This amazing conclusion has also been supported by other experiments made by the Monell research team. The tests also showed that taste cells can have both taste and olfactory receptors.

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Is our tongue a second nose?