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Latest Sense Stories

2013-03-18 15:54:40

Insect odorant receptors regulate their own sensitivity. Highly developed antennae containing different types of olfactory receptors allow insects to use minute amounts of odors for orientation towards resources like food, oviposition sites or mates. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, have now used mutant flies and for the first time provided experimental proof that the extremely sensitive olfactory system of fruit flies – they are able to...

Taste Perception: Connecting The Molecular Dots
2013-03-07 05:16:27

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online A consortium of scientists has identified a new protein regulator of taste, findings that help unlock the mystery of exactly how cells transmit taste information to the brain for three out of the five primary taste types. The researchers identified CALHM1, a channel in the walls of taste receptor cells, as a necessary component in the process of sweet, bitter, and umami (savory) taste perception. The other two taste types, sour...

Phantom Pain In Amputees Linked To The Brain
2013-03-06 05:38:54

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online A new brain imaging study from Oxford University reveals that the phantom pain many amputees feel in the missing limb is linked to changes in the brain that occur following amputation. Arm amputees who maintained strong representations of the missing hand in their brains — to the point where it was indistinguishable from persons with both hands — experienced the most phantom limb pain. The research team hopes that...

Turning Off The Cold: Neuroscientists Remove Chilly Protein From Skin
2013-02-13 07:59:08

Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Are you tired of being cold all the time? Do you wish you could turn the cold off at the push of a button? Well neuroscientists from the University of South Carolina (USC) may have some good news for you. It seems this group of researchers, led by David McKemy, associate professor of neurobiology in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Science, have been able to isolate chilliness at the cellular level, identifying a...

Stereo Sniffing Helps Common Moles Detect Their Food
2013-02-06 15:05:32

[Watch Video: Testing Stereo Sniffing Moles] Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Almost all mammals, including us humans, can see and hear in stereo. But which other of our senses might utilize a 3D approach for more effective operation? It turns out a new study, published yesterday in the journal Nature Communications, has found that certain animals are able to smell in stereo, as well. One of those mammals, the common mole (Scalopus aquaticus), frequently found...

Quantum Smell May Exist
2013-01-28 19:48:08

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online The majority of the scientific community has embraced the idea of different smells being based on the olfactory receptors´ ability to detect various shapes of odor molecules. However, a new study in the open access journal PLOS ONE has given credence to a less popular theory; that the sense of smell is based on the molecules´ different vibrations, not their shapes. The idea of a quantum, or vibration, basis for...

2012-12-12 23:22:01

When you walk into a darkened room, your first instinct is to feel around for a light switch. You slide your hand along the wall, feeling the transition from the doorframe to the painted drywall, and then up and down until you find the metal or plastic plate of the switch. During the process you use your sense of touch to develop an image in your mind of the wall´s surface and make a better guess for where the switch is. Sliman Bensmaia, PhD, assistant professor of organismal biology...

Mechanisms Behind Response To Gentle Touch Discovered
2012-12-10 05:47:22

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online A team of University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) researchers has reportedly discovered the group of nerve cells responsible for communicating the sensation of gentle touch in fruit flies -- and possibly in humans and other organisms as well -- potentially shedding light on one of most mysterious senses in all of biology. In their research, which has been published online by the journal Nature, the UCSF researchers studied...


Word of the Day
omphalos
  • The navel or umbilicus.
  • In Greek archaeology: A central boss, as on a shield, a bowl, etc.
  • A sacred stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, believed by the Greeks to mark the 'navel' or exact center-point of the earth.
'Omphalos' comes from the ancient Greek.
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