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Keen Sense of Smell Linked to Longer Life

(Reuters Health) – Older adults with a poor sense of smell may die sooner than their counterparts who have keen olfactory abilities, a U.S. study suggests.

Researchers asked 2,289 adults, ages 71 to 82, to identify 12 common smells, awarding scores from zero to as high as 12 based on how many scents they got right. When they joined the study, none of the participants were frail: they could walk a quarter mile, climb 10 steps, and independently complete daily activities.

During 13 years of follow-up, 1,211 participants died.

Overall, participants with a weak nose were 46 percent more likely to die by year 10 and 30 percent more apt to pass away by year 13 than people with a good sense of smell, the study found.

“The association was largely limited to participants who reported good-to-excellent health at enrollment, suggesting that poor sense of smell is an early and sensitive sign for deteriorating health before it is clinically recognizable,” said senior study author Dr. Honglei Chen of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

“Poor sense of smell is likely an important health marker in older adults beyond what we have already known about (i.e., connections with dementia, Parkinson’s disease, poor nutrition, and safety hazards),” Chen said by email.

People who started out the study in excellent or good health were 62 percent more likely to die by year 10 when they had a poor sense of smell than when they had a keen nose, researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

But smell didn’t appear to make a meaningful difference in mortality rates for people who were in fair to poor health at the start of the study.

With a poor sense of smell, people were more likely to die of neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, but not of cancer or respiratory conditions.

Poor sense of smell may be an early warning for poor health in older age that goes beyond neurodegenerative diseases that are often signal the beginning of physical or mental decline, the results also suggest.

Dementia or Parkinson disease explained only 22 percent of the higher death risk tied to a poor sense of smell, while weight loss explained just six percent of this connection, researchers estimated. That leaves more than 70 percent of the higher mortality rates tied to a weak nose unexplained.

The connection between a poor sense of smell and mortality risk didn’t appear to differ by sex or race or based on individuals’ demographic characteristics, lifestyle, and or chronic health conditions.

One limitation of the study is that the older adult participants were relatively functional, making it possible results might differ for younger people or for frail elderly individuals, the study team writes.

Researchers also only tested smell at one point in time, and they didn’t look at whether changes in olfactory abilities over time might influence mortality. Researchers also lacked data on certain medical causes of a weak nose such as nasal surgery or chronic rhinosinusitis that are not related to aging.

“The take-home message is that a loss in the sense of smell may serve as a bellwether for declining health,” said Vidyulata Kamath of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, co-author of an accompanying editorial.

“As we age, we may be unaware of declining olfactory abilities,” Kamath said by email. “Given this discrepancy, routine olfactory assessment in older adults may have clinical utility in screening persons at risk for illness, injury or disease for whom additional clinical work-up and/or intervention may be warranted.”

Lisa Rapaport  APRIL 29, 2019
 
SOURCE: bit.ly/2vrDJkP Annals of Internal Medicine, online April 29, 2019.
 

www.reuters.com

Humans Smell With Their Tongues, Scientists Discover

The receptors that dot our noses and help us to smell also populate our tongues, according to a new study. Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center have discovered working olfactory (smell) receptors in the taste-sensing cells on the papillae of the tongue. The findings were published in the journal Chemical Senses.
It is thought that the systems that enable us and other mammals to taste and smell are separate, and our brains combine this information so we can experience flavor. While the tongue deals with whether food is salty, sweet, sour, bitter, or umami, our noses provide more detail from smells.
As such, the study calls into question whether the mixing of smell and taste first happens in the brain. Instead, it provides evidence suggesting the process that creates flavor may first happen in the tongue.
However, Dr. Mehmet Hakan Ozdener, senior study author and a cell biologist at Monell Chemical Sense Center, stressed to The Guardian: “I am not saying that [if you] open your mouth, you smell.”
He said in a statement: “Our research may help explain how odor molecules modulate taste perception. The presence of olfactory receptors and taste receptors in the same cell will provide us with exciting opportunities to study interactions between odor and taste stimuli on the tongue.”
To arrive at their conclusion, scientists used genetic and biochemical tests to study human taste cells in a lab. They also used calcium imaging, which showed taste cells react to smells similarly to cells which pick up odor.
Ozdener was inspired to carry out the research after his 12-year-old son asked him if snakes waggle their tongues out of their mouths to smell.
The team hopes the research could help to combat the obesity epidemic, by creating flavor without the need for heaps of delicious yet unhealthy ingredients.
“This may lead to the development of odor-based taste modifiers that can help combat the excess salt, sugar, and fat intake associated with diet-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes,” he said.
The team also hopes their work will shed light on the little-understood olfactory system, which contains around 400 different receptors which enables us to smell.
Earlier this week, a separate team published a study showing humans use their sense of smell to navigate space. The scientists behind the study published in the journal Neuron created a “smellscape” in a room featuring the scent of pine and banana, which participants moved around.
By Kashmira Gander     4/24/19                                source: www.newsweek.com
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Fun Fact Friday

  • Smelling green apples and bananas can help you lose weight.

  • Deja Vu occurs when your brain tries to apply a memory of a past situation to your current one, fails, and makes you feel like it’s happened.

 

  • Daydreaming is said to help people focus on what they want in life.

  • Crying is good for your health – Flushing unhealthy bacteria out of your body, strengthening the immune system and relieving stress.

 

~ Happy Friday!~


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts all contain a little bit of cyanide. Eating them primes your liver to deal better with other poisons.

  • Only 6 percent of doctors today are happy with their jobs.

  • If everyone in the world washed their hands properly, we could save 1 million lives a year.

 

  • Smelling green apples and bananas can help you lose weight.

  • Sleep makes you more creative and makes your memories stronger.

  • Coffee can lower your risk of tooth decay.

Happy Friday!

 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact


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Fun Fact Friday

 

  • You can actually be addicted to cheese. When your body digests it, opiates are released, triggering the addictive element.
  • Bees are directly responsible for the production of 70% of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts that we consume on a daily basis.
  • Your nose can remember 50,000 different scents.
  • Honey is the only natural food that is made without destroying any kind of life.
honey
Honey is the only natural food
that is made without destroying any kind of life.

 

  • Crying keeps you healthy by literally flushing away harmful bacteria and reducing stress.
  • Physical touch makes you healthier. Studies show that massages, hugs, and hand-holding reduces stress and boosts the immune system.
  • When feeling down, do some cleaning. Straightening out the physical aspects of your life can also bring clarity to the mental one.
  • Intelligent people are more forgetful than those with average intelligence.

Happy Friday  
🙂

 

source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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Can People Transmit Happiness by Smell?

Lab experiment with ‘scent samples’ suggests humans pick up on others’ positive emotions via sweat

TUESDAY, May 26, 2015 (HealthDay News) – As emotions go, happiness usually hides in plain sight: seen in a broad smile, heard in a raucous laugh, felt in a big hug.

But new research suggests there may be a less obvious way to pick up on another person’s positive vibes: smell.

According to a team of European researchers, happiness may generate chemicals that get secreted in sweat, and that sweat signal gets sniffed by those around us.

The experiments also suggest that we not only breathe in the upbeat emotions of others, but by doing so we actually become happier ourselves.

“Human sweat produced when a person is happy induces a state similar to happiness in somebody who inhales this odor,” said study co-author Gun Semin, a research professor in the department of psychology at Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey, and the Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada in Lisbon, Portugal.

The findings were published recently in Psychological Science.

The researchers noted that prior research has already demonstrated that negative emotions, such as fear or disgust, can be communicated via odors in sweat.

To see whether the same holds true for the happier feelings, Semin’s team gathered sweat samples from 12 young men after each watched videos designed to induce a variety of emotions, including happiness and fear. All the men were healthy, drug-free nonsmokers, and none drank, consumed smelly foods or engaged in sexual activity during the study period.

In turn, 36 equally healthy young women were engaged to smell the samples while their reactions were monitored. The smell group, explained investigators, was confined to women because women typically have a better sense of smell than men and are also more sensitive to emotional signaling.

After analyzing the facial expressions of the smell group, the research team concluded that there does, in fact, appear to be a so-called “behavioral synchronization” between a sweating person’s emotional state, the sweat generated, and the reaction of the person who sniffs that sweat.

Specifically, that meant that the faces of women who smelled “happy sweat” displayed facial muscle activity deemed to be representative of happiness.

Sniffing_happiness

Sweat didn’t always produce a contagious response in the smeller, however. For example, those smellers who verbalized having a “pleasant” or “intense” reaction to a sweat sample did not manifest those reactions in their facial expressions.

What is it exactly that makes “happy sweat” infectious?

Semin, who is also professor of social and behavioral sciences at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, acknowledged that “we have not demonstrated what the nature of the chemical compound is in sweat.”

Pamela Dalton is an olfactory (smell sense) scientist with the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. She said she found the findings “a little surprising.”

However, “what is interesting about this study is that it suggests a positive emotion can be communicated – which in my opinion is far less important in human evolution and behavior than to be able to transmit and recognize a negative emotion, such as fear or anger,” Dalton said.

For that reason, Dalton said she “would expect the ability to communicate a happy emotion to [actually] be less potent than the ability to transmit a negative emotion.”

But Andreas Keller, a research associate with The Rockefeller University in New York City, said the study findings make intuitive sense.

“Hearing happy people and seeing happy people makes you happier,” he said, “so the fact that smelling them would make you happier, too, is probably not so surprising.”

According to Keller, the next step “would be to find out what the chemical difference in fear sweat and happy sweat is that mediates these effects. This would open the door to study what is going on at a mechanistic level.”

View Article Sources          WebMD News from HealthDay     By Alan Mozes    HealthDay Reporter
 source: HealthDay