AChemS: Cutting edge research in taste, smell, & chemical irritation

04/01/04

How these systems work and what they can do are key topics of discussion.

Sarasota, FL - Smell and taste play essential roles in our daily lives, serving as important warning systems, alerting us to the presence of potentially harmful situations or substances, including gas leaks, smoke, and spoiled food. Flavors and fragrances are also important in determining what foods we eat and the products we use. The pleasures derived from eating are mainly based on the chemical senses. Thousands of Americans experience loss of smell or taste each year resulting from head trauma, sinus disease, normal aging and neurological disorders, such as brain injury, stroke and Alzheimer's disease. By providing a better understanding of the function of chemo-sensory systems, scientific and biomedical research is leading to improvements in the diagnoses and treatment of smell and taste disorders.

Among those contributing to advancements are members of AChemS, which will be holding its 26th annual meeting in Sarasota, FL, April 21-25, 2004. AChemS consists of more than 800 members from 23 countries who are specialists in the chemical senses, smell, taste, and chemical irritation. In Sarasota, scientists are presenting their latest research findings on topics ranging from molecular biology to the clinical diagnosis and treatment of smell and taste disorders. The 2004 meeting is featuring presentations of new research findings, special symposia, and workshops (see Program at a Glance) sponsored by AChemS, corporations, and the National Institutes of Health. On Wednesday, April 21st, at 8:00 P.M., the meeting opens with the annual Givaudan-Roure Lecture, which will focus on a unique property of the sense of smell, namely, its ability to grow new nerve cells. The guest lecture by Dr. Arturo Alvarez-Buylla, from the University of California San Francisco, is titled "Why New Neurons in The Adult Olfactory Bulb?"

Among the presentations are six, special-subject symposia (for details see Program Listing). For more information about the AChemS 2004 meeting please visit the AChemS Online Press Information Web Page at http://www.achems.org/04press.htm.

Alzheimer's Disease.
Loss of smell linked to key protein in Alzheimer's Disease. A new University of Pennsylvania study shows first signal of disease could provide future test for early stages of neurodegenerative illnesses. [Read More]

Pheromone Find Offers Hope for Control of Parasitic Pest.
Sea lamprey, an invasive and environmentally destructive parasitic fish, find streams to spawn in by detecting a pheromone released by young lamprey. This study found that the pheromone is a bouquet of three compounds, the identification of which opens the door for synthesis of the pheromone and its potential use in lamprey control. [Read More]

Does Big City Air Pollution Damage Our Sense Of Smell?
Although big city air pollution is known to damage nasal tissue there has been no study of the effect of this on our sense of smell. We tested the olfactory sensitivity of residents of Mexico City (high air pollution) and residents of the nearby state of Tlaxcala (low air pollution). Mexico City residents performed worse on all tests. [Read More]

The Bigger, the Better? Not in Olfaction!
Recent studies demonstrate that human and nonhuman primates show an olfactory sensitivity which for several substances matches or even is markedly better than that of species such as dogs, rats, or mice. These findings suggest that - contrary to textbook wisdom - the size of an animalīs olfactory brain is a poor predictor of olfactory performance. [Read More]

Odors and Emotions: The Smell of Stress?
Popular literature is rife with anecdotal accounts suggesting that an emotional event experienced in the presence of an odor can impact the perception of that odor upon future encounters. While investigating this phenomenon in the laboratory, we have observed that a stress response can be triggered by re-exposure to a novel odor that was initially paired with a stressful experience. [Read More]

Many Find Comfort in Absent Partner's Scent.
A large majority of women, and some men, smell their partner's clothing during periods of separation. Although the practice was previously known, its frequency had never been documented. Many report that their partner's odor provides comfort. Men are just as interested in their partner's odor when present, but they do not seek it out as much when absent. [Read More]

Peppermint Odor Boosts Basketball Performance.
Basketball players who self-administered peppermint odor through the use of a Peak PerformanceTM Sports InhalerTM showed significant strides in their game. Use of the inhaler was associated with increased motivation, energy, speed, alertness, reaction time, confidence, and strength, and decreased levels of fatigue and frustration. In addition, athletes' ratings of their competitive advantage over opponents and ratings of overall performance were enhanced.. [Read More]

Chewing Cinnamon Gum May Improve Mental Performance.
Chewing cinnamon gum, or being exposed to a cinnamon scent, was found to improve participants' scores on tasks related to attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed. Implications are most promising in providing a non-pharmacological adjunct to enhancing cognition in the elderly, individuals with test-anxiety, and perhaps even patients with diseases that lead to cognitive decline. [Read More]

The Sperm "Nose": New Insights into the Secrets of Fertility.
Every day you experience the importance of the sense of smell. But, did you know about the role of the "sperm nose" in pathfinding on sperm's long journey to the egg? Our recent studies provide new insights into the important primary steps that link chemical guidepost detection to directed human sperm swimming behavior. [Read More]

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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