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Can Tongue Smell Like Nose?

We understand that it sounds funny, but new research suggests that the taste buds in your tongue can smell food like your nose does. It was always clear that taste and smell go hand in hand when detecting food flavor components. However, the new study by the neuroscientists of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia has created a ripple of curiosity among the masses.

Before we go into the depth of the findings, let us take a look into what goes behind the process of smelling.

How Does Smelling Work?

The process through which you can smell things is quite complicated. All the information related to scent is transmitted through your olfactory tract to the brain’s olfactory cortex for processing. It is why your sense of smell is also known as olfaction. Your brain identifies various scents through different odors’ chemical signature, which is created by diffused molecules.

Your nose has smell cells, which are nothing but olfactory receptor neurons that capture the odor molecules. These neurons are connected to the olfactory bulb to complete the process of smelling. There are almost 10 million neurons responsible for your ability to smell things.

If the olfactory system faces any hindrance under any circumstance, you may suffer from anosmia, which is the inability to smell, or hyposmia, that reduces this ability.

Now that you have a fair knowledge about how smelling things work let us know what the new study says.

What Does The New Study Say?

According to Monell Center’s cell biologist, Dr. Mehmet Ozdener, the senses of smell and taste do not meet in the brain; rather, it intersects first in the mouth. The study also suggests that the olfactory receptor neurons found in the nose and help in the detection of odors have also been discovered in the tongue’s taste cells.

So, you see, your tongue, too, can smell like your nose. These findings will help scientists take a leap in treating the diseases mentioned above. There is still a lot to be researched to establish several factors, such as whether these receptors are located on specific cells or can odor molecules modify taste preferences.


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