Is survival possible in this modern world without a sense of smell?

This question was asked by my school teacher in grade 6. While I was busy gossiping with my best friend. And today here I’m wondering. Really can we survive without a sense of smell? 

Yes, we can.  But losing the sense of smell can signal something more pernicious in the brain. Our senses allow us to detect changes occurring around and perceive the nature of this world. 

The discovery of olfactory receptors opened a window on our sense of smell.  The discovery of a large family of receptors detecting odor solved the mystery of how our brains perceive smell. The sense of smell has remained an enigma until now. 

Stephanie Sutherland is a neuroscientist and freelance journalist in southern California. Who wrote an article about the discovery of olfactory neuron’s the isolation of 18 unique receptor genes that were members of this family but were found only in olfactory sensory neurons.

The smell evokes the most powerful memories. The smell for freshly baked cookies and the sweet smell of flowers have so many intense feelings attached with them. People who are suffering from neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease frequently struggle to detect and identify smells. Thus face depression, 

As was the only smells that they remember are now trapped in their old memories and they can’t anymore experience them. 

For animals sense of smell exerts a powerful effect on the behavior like eating, mating, and sensing danger. Animals have very powerful control of their senses and that’s why they can detect almost all small changes in the environment.

The above picture may look like a neo carnival but it is the picture of the organ of mammals, every time they smell. The sense of smell is not singularly affected by the nose but it is the combination of the nasal cavity and brain sensing.  When the animal breathes in, airborne odour molecules activate the cells.  Signal to the olfactory bulbs is the next thing that occurs that is the “eyes” in this image. 

It is amazing to know even a small sensor which is an integral part of our daily life has so many small specifications. They are involved in emotional processing of odour, information, and memories just like the time when a certain smell reminds you of your grandmother.  And also just like the smell of sweet muffin that I and my best friend were gossiping about that day.

By Akanksha Patil – Akanksha a passionate writer, learner and an intern with Mistpoffer.

References

  1. www.brainfacts.org
  2. academicoup.com
  3. en.wikipedia.org
  4. images source: www.brainfacts.org

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