:: CoffeeBlog ::

Writing about food, molecular biology, and writing. Learning by doing.


You will be automatically redirected in 5 seconds, or you can click the obnoxious flashing link above.
:: welcome to CoffeeBlog :: bloghome | contact | link to me | visit my neighbors | XML/RSS
How this works

While browsing, I came across these three articles independently of each other. Perhaps it's the new issue of Japanese Journal of Taste and Smell Research?

  • Male sweat brightens women’s mood
  • Girl hit by 'fish odour syndrome'
  • Elderly armpits can lift your spirits

  • Here's an interesting bit from the MSNBC article:
    Wysocki, a study co-author, said the research could point to a “chemical communication” subtext between the sexes that enables men and women to coordinate their reproductive efforts subliminally.
    Compare that with the BBC article:
    Jeannette Haviland, who also worked on the research, suggested that hormones in the body odour of the young might act as a signal of aggression. Hormonal changes in old age, she said, were likely to make the odour of the elderly, particularly women, signal approachability.
    So it's clear: During "that time of the month" women are feeling bad, so they pick a fight with their man or men in general to enhance his agressive smell, thereby cheering themselves up a little. I smell a conspiracy!

    More seriously, and especially interesting since I will be starting to do some work in stem cell research is something I read here:
    With further study it became clear that growth factors in saliva and nasal mucus influenced stem cell development in both taste and smell systems. Dr. Henkin discovered, isolated, and sequenced growth factors responsible for development and maintenance of stem cells in the taste and smell systems and, thereby responsible for taste and smell function since these stem cells were the progenitor cells for all taste bud and olfactory epithelial cell anatomy, respectively. He discovered that the parotid glands in the mouth and the nasal serous glands in the nose secrete these growth factors into saliva and nasal mucus, respectively. These growth factors act on stem cells in the taste and smell systems through paracrine effects similar in some ways that hormones secreted from various glands in the body into blood influence metabolism through endocrine effects.
    So endocrine and paracrine signalling is important for smell and taste function and development. I don't know if any of the cited research addresses whether the signalling affects smell and taste function in the differentiated epithelia, or if the functions are limited to development, acting only on the stem cells. I am reminded of some research that suggested a role for new cell synthesis in memory formation, and of the way your house smells different when you come back from a long vacation. I've realized that cat owners often don't realize that their houses quite frankly stink, and perhaps they don't, to them, because of changes in the olfactory epithelia. This is mostly ignorant speculation since I don't know much about how smell works on the molecular level, but there has to be something for smell that allows us to weed out extraneous input to focus on the ones most important to us, and it doesn't all have to be done in the brain. Aside, I speculate that it's because smell nerves don't go through the thalamus on the way to the brain that smell has such powerful ability to evoke memory. Check out what cognitive psychology has to say about processing of input information. I'll sum this up with the following hypothesis: All senses are filtered of repetitive input at the organ level, as well as the brain level.

  • Skin filters repetitive touch by developing calluses.
  • Vision filters repetitive sights by loss of specialized rod and cone cells in the eye. Older people have better peripheral color vision than when they're looking directly at something.
  • Taste and smell filter repetitive inputs through signalling from growth factors, perhaps even ingredients in food can have activity here.
  • I can't think of something specific for hearing, other than the general obvious observation that people grow deaf faster in the presence of continual loud noise.

  • Any comments?

    Mr. Gunn : 7:06 PM : Saturday, March 15, 2003 :

    Both Komputor and Mass Spectrometry Blog are both my neighbors. Who would have thought GeoURL would be so cool? I just thought it was kinda neat and maybe a way to meet people, but I've found so many great sites that way.

    Mr. Gunn : 6:10 PM : Monday, March 10, 2003 :

    Emeril's online recipe database, hand-coded by Ben Caston.

    Mr. Gunn : 6:04 PM : :

    Hubmed - RSS feeds of literature queries - updated daily.

    Mass Spectrometry Blog likes the citation incidence plot and XML Resources for Molecular Biology. It's great to see some of the new data technologies getting wider application.
    Thanks for the great links, Dr. Murray.

    Mr. Gunn : 5:30 PM : :

    RSS with autodiscovery now enabled, courtesy of VoidStar.

    Update: Voidstar has discontinued their service, but it has been picked up by Wytheville Community College


    Mr. Gunn : 5:30 PM : :

    Secular Blasphemy, which has several other great articles, has a summary of the seven warning signs of bogus science. I've added two of my own. For laypeople trying to sort through some of the difficult issues today, these are good to keep in mind:
  • The discoverer pitches the claim directly to the media.
  • The discoverer says that a powerful establishment is trying to suppress his or her work.
  • The scientific effect involved is always at the very limit of detection.
  • Evidence for a discovery is anecdotal.
  • The discoverer says a belief is credible because it has endured for centuries.
  • The discoverer has worked in isolation.
  • The discoverer must propose new laws of nature to explain an observation.
  • The discoverer refuses to show his data.(I'm not linking to the R-elians here, but you know what I mean)
  • The discoverer claims only he or she can do the technique
  • The foundation of scientific integrity is peer-review and reproducibility. One scientist making a claim doesn't make the claim true. See rhetorical strategies. Getting an article published in a major scientific journal doesn't even mean that it is an eternal truth, but if someone is making a big claim by himself, and no colleagues nor journals are backing him up, then check your bogometer.

    Mr. Gunn : 8:32 AM : :

    SlowFood.com, because life's too short to eat fast food. I really like their cheese, but I don't care much for their more Luddite beliefs about genetic engineering.

    Mr. Gunn : 1:40 PM : Sunday, March 09, 2003 :

    CoffeeBlog makes the Best of Blogs list at MSNBC!!

    I know it's just because the editor, Will Femia, decided to focus on medical blogs, and the field isn't really all that big, but hey...it still counts as major media attention! He found my page linked from Lagniappe, and says:
    One recent post that caught my attention is a discussion of a really cool idea for mixing text/audio translator tools with the XML program known as RSS which allows potentially wide distribution of Weblog entries. This leads to a vision of a future where we can sit in our cars and listen audio translations of our favorite blog feeds.
    I thought it was a little far-fetched when I wrote about it. I was just pissed off at the moment at the Clear Channel radio monopoly and wishing I could get my favorite webcasts in my car, when I happened to read about AudBlog.

    Mr. Gunn : 1:16 PM : :

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
    Listed on BlogShares