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Latest Sense Stories

2012-03-12 19:52:43

Animals live in surprisingly different sensory worlds Scientists from the Monell Center report that seven of 12 related mammalian species have lost the sense of sweet taste. As each of the sweet-blind species eats only meat, the findings demonstrate that a liking for sweets is frequently lost during the evolution of diet specialization. Previous research from the Monell team had revealed the remarkable finding that both domestic and wild cats are unable to taste sweet compounds due to...

2012-03-12 15:00:34

University of Rhode Island marine biologist Jacqueline Webb gets an occasional strange look when she brings fish to the Orthopedics Research Lab at Rhode Island Hospital. While the facility's microCT scanner is typically used to study bone density and diseases like osteoporosis, it is also providing new insights into the skull structure and sensory systems of fish. A professor of biological sciences and director of the marine biology program at URI, Webb studies the lateral line system, a...

2012-02-29 12:41:31

Activating the visual cortex improves our sense of smell A new study reveals for the first time that activating the brain's visual cortex with a small amount of electrical stimulation actually improves our sense of smell. The finding published in the Journal of Neuroscience by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital - The Neuro, McGill University and the Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, revises our understanding of the complex biology of the senses in...

2011-12-22 15:33:07

Compared to our other senses, scientists don't know much about how our skin is wired for the sensation of touch. Now, research reported in the December 23rd issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, provides the first picture of how specialized neurons feel light touches, like a brush of movement or a vibration, are organized in hairy skin. Looking at these neurons in the hairy skin of mice, the researchers observed remarkably orderly patterns, suggesting that each type of hair...

2011-12-15 16:26:29

A discovery in fruit flies may be able to tell us more about how animals, including humans, sense potentially dangerous discomforts. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center uncovered naturally occurring variations of a gene named TRPA1 that is important for the function of pain-sensing neurons throughout the animal kingdom. The gene makes an ion channel, which floods sensory neurons with calcium ions when the fly is near a heat source, causing fruit fly larvae to respond with a...

2011-12-10 02:00:24

People with a certain form of inherited hearing loss have increased sensitivity to low frequency vibration, according to a study by Professor Thomas Jentsch of the Leibniz-Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP)/Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch and Professor Gary Lewin (MDC), conducted in cooperation with clinicians from Madrid, Spain and Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The research findings, which were published in Nature Neuroscience...

2011-12-09 16:24:38

Our senses of sight and hearing work closely together, perhaps more than people realize, a new UCLA psychology study shows. "If we think of the perceptual system as a democracy where each sense is like a person casting a vote and all votes are counted to reach a decision – although not all votes are counted equally – what our study shows is that the voters talk to one another and influence one another even before each casts a vote," said Ladan Shams, a UCLA associate professor...

2011-12-05 13:02:56

Fruit fly and malaria mosquito sensors attuned to heat, chemical odors Fruit flies and mosquitoes share similar sensory receptors that allow them to distinguish among thousands of sensory cues — particularly heat and chemical odors — as they search for food or try to avoid danger, researchers from Boston College and Brandeis University report in the current electronic edition of the journal Nature. Pinpointing a tiny portion of a protein found on the surfaces of neurons that...

2011-12-03 11:23:05

Imagine you are playing ping-pong with a friend. Your friend makes a serve. Information about where and when the ball hit the table is provided by both vision and hearing. Scientists have believed that each of the senses produces an estimate relevant for the task (in this example, about the location or time of the ball´s impact) and then these votes get combined subconsciously according to rules that take into account which sense is more reliable. And this is how the senses interact in...


Word of the Day
glogg
  • Scandinavian punch made of claret and aquavit with spices and raisins and orange peel and sugar.
This word comes from the Swedish 'glogg,' which is an alteration of 'glodgat,' mulled (wine).
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