Up until recently, scientists believed that smell and taste worked separately in humans. While the brain requires information from both the nose and the mouth to properly analyze food, it was always assumed that the two senses functioned independently. However, ENT specialists in Amherst are interested to learn that humans, like many animals, may actually have olfactory receptors on their tongues as well. That is to say that your tongue may be able to both taste and smell your food.

How Animals Smell with Their Tongues:

Humans have an organ designated specifically for smelling, but not all animals have noses. Crabs, for instance, have sensory receptors on their antennae, while snakes use their tongues to smell. Snails use their lower tentacles to smell odors in their surroundings. Because so many other creatures in the animal kingdom contain sense receptors elsewhere on their body, it’s not too much of a stretch of the imagination to believe that humans would too.

Do Taste Buds Actually Have Olfactory Receptors?

In December 2018, ENT specialist Dr. Ozdener and team discovered that mouse taste papilla cells, taste cells in mice, contained smell receptors, which, quite surprisingly, worked just as standard olfactory receptors in the nose work. The team of ENT specialists does not know how active these receptors are nor to what degree they influence taste. However, this discovery could prove the foundation for research on diet and weight loss.

What Does This Mean for ENT Specialists in Amherst?

ENT specialists in Amherst believe that this information could help individuals struggling with their diet. If scientists can manipulate odor-based taste modifiers, they might be able to help people with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other weight-related illnesses. Essentially, if researchers can reveal more about these olfactory receptors, manufacturers might be able to improve the taste of foods without adding substances known to make us gain weight, such as salt, sugar, and oil.

This ENT Specialist’s Final Thoughts on Taste & Smell:

If you’ve ever come down with the common cold, you know that you lose your appetite without a sense of smell. However, ENT specialists in Amherst now know that the relationship between taste and smell is actually far more intimate than that. We can only wait with bated breath to learn what this means for the future of the medical world.

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