Our wonderful sense of smell

Most people are aware of the five basic senses that we use in our everyday life – sight, taste, touch, hearing and smell. They help us to make sense of the world around us as well as create memories that are layered with senses. This is why smelling a particular perfume can remind you of a special individual and a noise can make your feel fearful or happy.

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Smell is one of the senses that can produce quick and strong emotional reactions. This can include joy, sadness and revulsion. It is a very direct sense and require the movement of scent molecules from an item to be carried to your nasal passage. This can occur as a result of smelling the item directly or more likely through a smell being carried in the air. Every items release molecules of scent and they evaporate into the air easily which is what allows them to be carried through the air and they are also incredible light which is why you don’t notice them. They are not visible to the naked eye. There are some items that do not release scent molecules as they are too dense and this includes metals such as steel.

When the molecule enter your nasal passage they travel up the nose thanks to the tiny hairs that line the passage. These hairs help to move the molecules up the nasal passage as well as trapping any items that could cause problems with your breathing etc. At the top of the nose neurons that are covered with cilia (tiny hairs) trap the molecule and allow the neurons to identify the smell. There is an electric response that happens in nanoseconds once the molecules reach the neurons that allows the brain to identify the scent and will also produce any emotional reactions to that given smell.

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Each of the receptors in your nose are coded to detect different scent molecules and if damaged or missing this can result in individuals not being able to smell a certain item. Damage can occur for a number of reasons and some people simply have some missing due to the makeup of their DNA. The sense of smell is linked very much to our sense of taste and therefore people who experience issues with smelling items may asl find that their sense of taste is dulled and vice versa, those with a sensitive sense of smell may have a heightened sense of taste.

So next time you enjoy the smell of a bouquet of flowers from a Gloucestershire Florist such as www.flowershedtewkesbury.co.uk or a nice meal you can thank the tiny little cells in your nose for building up that wonderful aroma.

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