Neuroscience

What is the best sense? Scientists are still battling it out

If there is one thing Twitter has taught us, it's that the world loves a question that sounds stupid, but actually has a profound and interesting answer. For instance, what would happen if the world suddenly turned into blueberries, ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Loss of taste? The problem's probably up your nose

When patients report losing their sense of taste, the problem is most likely due to a dysfunction in their sense of smell, according to research from Virginia Commonwealth University's Smell and Taste Disorders Center.

Medical research

Humans' built-in GPS is our 3-D sense of smell

Like homing pigeons, humans have a nose for navigation because our brains are wired to convert smells into spatial information, new research from the University of California, Berkeley, shows.

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Olfaction

Olfaction (also known as olfactics or smell) refers to the sense of smell. This sense is mediated by specialized sensory cells of the nasal cavity of vertebrates, and, by analogy, sensory cells of the antennae of invertebrates. For air-breathing animals, the olfactory system detects volatile or, in the case of the accessory olfactory system, fluid-phase chemicals. For water-dwelling organisms, e.g., fish or crustaceans, the chemicals are present in the surrounding aqueous medium. Olfaction, along with taste, is a form of chemoreception. The chemicals themselves which activate the olfactory system, generally at very low concentrations, are called odors.

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