How do we choose our food? By studying the neurobiological mechanisms involved in food choices of rodents, neuroscientists (UNIGE) have identified the important and lasting influence that peers can have on eating habits. Indeed, sensory stimuli linked to social contacts modify the neural connections of the networks involved in food choice, highlighting the social transmission of a food preference. In addition, these studies highlight the role of social connection in the interpretation of sensory stimuli.
Filling a notable gap in scientists' understanding of how cells respond to 'smells' and signal to underlying neurons, researchers report that the activated cell receptors cause their cells not simply to fire, but to fire in specific patterns.
A stem cell therapy delivered into the nose can restore the sense of smell in a mouse model of olfactory loss. The findings, published May 30, 2019 in the journal Stem Cell Reports, provide proof of principle for an approach that has the potential to be of broad utility for a range of clinical conditions causing loss of olfaction.
Preliminary evidence from a new national Dartmouth study suggests that external food cue responsiveness is measurable by parental report in preschool-age children. Responsiveness was greater among children with, versus without, usual TV advertisement exposure. These results may provide a better understanding of how an obesogenic food environment shapes the development of children's eating behaviors at a young age.
Regular coffee drinkers can sniff out even tiny amounts of coffee and are faster at recognising the aroma, which could open the door to new ways of using aversion therapy for addiction
Wine connoisseurs can easily discriminate a dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, from a fruitier red, like Pinot Noir. Scientists have long linked the 'dryness' sensation in wine to tannins, but how these molecules create their characteristic mouthfeel over time is not fully understood. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have found that tannin structure, concentration and interactions with saliva and other wine components influence the perception of dryness.
Chocolate is one of the most-consumed treats around the world, and the smell alone is usually enough to evoke strong cravings from even the most disciplined eaters. Much like a fine wine, high-quality dark chocolate has a multi-layered scent and flavor, with notes of vanilla, banana or vinegar. Now, researchers report in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry which substances -- and how much of them -- make up this heavenly aroma.
Researchers from the National Institute for Physiological Sciences characterized the role of neurons in the parabrachial nucleus of mice, which is known to relay taste information to the cortex via the gustatory thalamus. SatB2-expressing neurons encoded sweet tastes, and this was especially true for those that projected to the gustatory thalamus. SatB2-expressing neurons selectively transmitted sweet taste-specific appetitive signals.
A new study from the Monell Center and collaborating institutions sheds light on understanding the extensive individual differences in how we sense odors. By showing that small changes in a single olfactory receptor gene can affect how strong and pleasant a person finds an odor, the findings expand understanding of how olfactory receptors in the nose encode information about the properties of odors even before that information reaches the brain.
A new Michigan State University study suggests that older adults with poor sense of smell may see an almost 50% increase in their risk of dying within 10 years -- surprisingly in healthier individuals. The research is published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.