Navigation Links
Researchers unlock new secret to how smells are detected
Date:3/25/2011

AURORA, Colo. (March 25, 2011) Researchers seeking to unravel the most ancient yet least understood of the five senses smell have discovered a previously unknown step in how odors are detected and processed by the brain.

The four year study, focusing on how mice respond to odors, showed that smells are picked up by the olfactory bulb the first stop on the way to the brain then sent to the olfactory cortex for further analysis.

But scientists discovered something else a dialogue between the bulb and the cortex conducted by rapidly firing nerve cells.

"It was originally thought that the olfactory bulb filtered and the olfactory cortex made decisions on whether something is, for example, edible," said lead researcher Diego Restrepo, professor of Cell and Developmental Biology and co-director of the University of Colorado School of Medicine Center for NeuroScience. "Our study says it's not quite like that. You process information on reward in the olfactory bulb, send it to the cortex and there is a dialogue between the two. Then the brain will act."

The study was published March 24 in the science journal Neuron.

Restrepo, an expert on the science of taste and smell, said the discovery expands our understanding of how the olfactory system filters and categorizes the thousands of odors that bombard the brain daily.

"We know very little about olfaction and we tend to think that it is not very important in humans compared to the other creatures," he said. "But much of what goes on is subtle and we are only beginning to understand it."

For example, scientists recently found that when men sniffed the odorless tears of women, their levels of testosterone dropped. And for years it's been known that humans, like animals, secrete pheromones that may subconsciously help them choose a mate.

But unlike hearing, taste, sight and touch smell is the only sense not processed exclusively through the thalamus in the brain, Restrepo said. So the exact path odors take to the brain and how they can trigger often vivid reactions is still not fully understood. The new research suggests that perhaps part of the answer lies within the dialogue between olfactory bulb and cortex.

In describing their work, the researchers noted that "olfaction is a primitive sensory system connected to the brain in a fundamentally different way from other systems."

"Decision-making in olfaction is challenging with a large number of input dimensions and hundreds of olfactory receptors," they wrote. "We show that information about what odors predict is integrated into the earliest stages of neural encoding compared to other senses."


'/>"/>

Contact: David Kelly
david.kelly@ucdenver.edu
303-315-6374
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. RIT researchers help map tsunami and earthquake damage in Japan
2. Dont shuffle on slippery surfaces, Clemson University, Charleston researchers say
3. U of M researchers close in on technology for making renewable petroleum
4. Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prizes 2011: Recognition and incentive for early career researchers
5. MU researchers use motion sensors to determine equine lameness
6. PMH researchers create an organic nanoparticle that uses sound and heat to find and treat tumors
7. Researchers step closer to treatment of virulent hospital infection
8. UCLA researchers engineer E. coli to produce record-setting amounts of alternative fuel
9. Hopkins researchers use light to move molecules
10. Zoo researchers provide African sanctuaries road map
11. Brandeis researchers use lasers, custom microscope to show gene splicing process in real time
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/16/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , June 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Market size is expected to reach USD ... report by Grand View Research, Inc. Technological proliferation ... and banking applications are expected to drive the ... ) , The development of ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... , June 9, 2016 ... deploy Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the safety of ... during the major tournament Teleste, an ... systems and services, announced today that its video security solution ... to back up public safety across the country. The ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016 The Department ... has awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, for the ... Vehicle Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , ... in the production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous ... however Decatur was selected for the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed ... to serve as their official health care provider. ... will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and ... volunteers, athletes and families. "We are ... and to bring Houston Methodist quality services and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), ... new ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced ... (MoMA) in New York City . ... participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater ... Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today announced that Dr. ... STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am thrilled that Dr. ... STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, Hays brings a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to ... medical community, has closed its Series A funding round, ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis ... need to meet our current goals," stated Matthew ... runway to complete validation on the current projects in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: