Monday, 25 August 2008

Wake up and smell the cheese!

In medical school, you are sometimes given the impression than our sense of smell is fairly useless; a rather lame and impotent hangover from our evolutionary past with little function today other than in helping to identify various food flavours.

But that's simply not the case - more and more research is showing that our sense of smell is very much an integral part of much of our lives. The reason that we tend not to notice the powerful deductions that are made from smell is that this data is kept at a subconscious level most of the time. Much of the newly discovered powers of olfaction relate to our social environment. People can distinguish HLA genotype, friends vs strangers, male vs female and even gay vs straight - just from a person's odour.

It truly is amazing, and for a nice summary of the above and more, go to this excellent article I came across online at the Scientific American website.

Having read the article, there are a few questions that popped into mind:
  • What are the effects of using body deodorants on all this?
  • Why is so much of this information kept subconscious by the brain?

Any thoughts?

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