Science can make blind mice see again and deaf mice hear — now scent-deprived mice can sniff their surroundings and smell for the first time, after a new gene therapy. It may be a while before this treatment percolates up to humans, but it’s a sign that gene therapy could restore smell in this rare but disorder.
For all our knowledge about how the brain processes sight, sound, smell and touch, very little is understood about taste. Researchers have been unsure whether specific brain cell groups are devoted to the five main taste groups, just like there are specific, finely tuned taste receptors on your tongue.
Researchers from Columbia University now say they've identified these neuron groups, and have built a map of the "gustatory cortex." It's the first map showing how taste is represented in the mammalian brain.
When we figure out how to communicate with dolphins pretty soon, these are some good questions to ask: Why don't you feel any pain when you're hurt? Can you teach us how to regrow missing body parts? And can you teach us how to sense electricity?
These are some of the latest impressive attributes we humans have learned about dolphins.
Human skin is primed for touch — even minuscule pressure from a fly is enough to make you flinch. This ability does not yet extend to artificial limbs, however, and robots are a long way from having sensitive tactile abilities.
Now two California research teams have announced pressure-sensitive artificial skin made of tiny circuits, both of which could lead to better artificial limbs and helper robots.
Linda Bartoshuk, Ph.D, the director of Human Research at the University of Florida's Center for Smell and Taste, says the fleshy flap inside your mouth is a central site for chemical reactions involving taste and smell -- and that the traditional tongue map is a lie.