Fragrantly staggering: some left-handed women still have sense of smell, even if they miss the crucial part of the brain – as scientists admit they have no idea how it's possible
- More than 600 MRI scans of women were seen as part of the study
- Just over 4 percent of left-handed women without odor bulbs can still smell
- Researchers think that other parts of the brain take over odor processing
The human brain can process odors in some women, even if they don't have the olfactory bulbs in their brains that process odors, scientists have discovered.
When we smell something like a fresh pot of coffee, baked bread or something less pleasant, the smell goes through the nose and stimulates nerve endings, which then cause electrical signals to the incense lamps.
It was previously thought that without the bulbs it would be impossible to process what you smell.
People without incense bulbs usually suffer from anosmia or an inability to smell. it used to be thought that it would be impossible for people without odor balls to smell
Scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, however, studied the MRI scans of 606 women and discovered that 0.6 percent of the women examined could smell despite the fact that they had no odor balls.
Intriguingly, this increased to 4.25 percent if the women were left-handed.
The team then conducted more extensive tests on two of the women without olfactory spheres and proved that they could identify, detect and distinguish scents as well as someone with spheres.
The & # 39; phenomenon & # 39; only affects women. Men without incense bulbs showed no sign that they could smell.
This photo shows a scan of a person with olfactory bulbs (top left) is visibly different from the brain scans of people without olfactory bulbs (bottom right). People without scent balls usually have no sense of smell
Researchers wondered if the brain might have more plasticity or adaptability than previously thought if people didn't need scent balls to smell.
Professor Noam Sobel, senior author of the study, said: “The simplest interpretation of our findings is that these women were born without an olfactory bulb, but thanks to the extreme plasticity of the developing brain, they developed somewhere else in the brain , not in the sphere of smell.
& # 39; Although such & plasticity is great, it does not come from the realm of what we have seen in human development. & # 39;
Professor Sobel said he had no idea why left-handedness or gender made the difference in who could still smell without odor bulbs
The researchers have put forward a number of reasons for the women's ability to smell, despite the lack of the necessary equipment, including the fact that the bulbs are there, but too small to see with an MRI scan.
Another, more controversial theory from researchers suggests that the olfactory bulbs may not be responsible for identifying odor, but instead for locating where an odor has arisen.
& # 39; It was overwhelmingly shocking, this started ringing all the bells, & # 39; Professor Sobel said BBC news.
He said he had no idea why left-handedness or gender made a difference for those who could still smell without the bulbs.
The team hopes to be able to find out through future research whether someone with anosmia can learn to smell by activating other parts of the brain to take over odor processing functions.
The study was published in the journal neuron.
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