Research at Stevens Institute of Technology reveals that the scent of coffee alone may help people perform better on the analytical portion of the Graduate Management Aptitude Test, or GMAT, a computer adaptive test required by many business schools.
Numerous studies to date have shown that olfactory receptors are relevant not only for smell perception, but that they also play a significant physiological and pathophysiological role in all organs. An overview of receptors detected so far and of the functions they fulfil within the human body is provided by researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum, published in the journal Physiological Reviews;.
A review of more than 200 studies reveals that olfactory receptors -- proteins that bind to odors that aid the sense of smell -- perform a wide range of mostly unknown functions outside the nose. The function of extra-nasal olfactory receptors has the potential to be used in the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions such as cancer. The article is published in the July issue of Physiological Reviews.
Bananas are one of the world's most popular fruits. But how they're stored prior to reaching grocery shelves can adversely affect their flavor and smell. Now in a study appearing in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists report that cold temperatures suppress the activity of proteins that play a key role in the formation of the banana's distinct aromas. They say this discovery could lead to enhancements of the fruit's fragrance and flavor.
Bloodhounds are famous for their ability to track scents over great distances. Now researchers have developed a modern-day bloodhound -- a robot that can rapidly detect odors from sources on the ground, such as footprints. The robot, reported in ACS Sensors, could even read a message written on the ground using odors as a barcode.
From vine to wine, grapes undergo a remarkable transformation. But sometimes this makeover results in vino that doesn't taste quite right. In a study appearing in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists report that they have found a way to use tiny magnetic particles to remove off-tasting substances in cabernet sauvignon without altering its desired bouquet. Eventually, they say this technique could help remove unwanted flavors from other wines.
At a cost of thousands of dollars per pound, truffles are an expensive food. The fungi are prized for their distinctive aroma, and many foods claim truffles or their aromas as ingredients. But some of these foods may actually contain a much less pricey synthetic truffle compound. To help detect food fraud, researchers report in Analytical Chemistry that they have developed a technique that discriminates between these natural and synthetic compounds.
New research in mice has revealed that the brain's underlying desire for sweet, and its distaste for bitter, can be erased by manipulating neurons in the amygdala, the emotion center of the brain. The research points to new strategies for understanding and treating eating disorders including obesity and anorexia nervosa.
From burgers to steaks, beef has a long history of being a delicious part of dinner. But what if that pleasant experience of eating beef could extend beyond the dinner plate? Now, one group reports in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that beef protein, when broken down into peptides, can block bitter taste receptors on the tongue. Such peptides could someday be used to make other foods and even medicines taste better.
Giving unrestricted access to a high-fat, high-sugar 'cafeteria-diet' to rats leads to obesity and to changes in a brain region called the orbitofrontal cortex, which integrates information about food and determines eating behavior. These changes make food more attractive to rats, even when their hunger should be satisfied, explains Dr. Stephanie Borgland's at the University of Calgary. These findings could lead to the identification of novel therapeutic strategies for treating obesity with fewer side effects.