olfaction

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smell

 [smel]
the sense that enables one to perceive odors; it depends on the stimulation of sense organs in the nose by small particles carried in inhaled air. It is important not only for the detection of odors, but also for the enjoyment of food, since flavor is a blend of taste and smell. Taste registers only four qualities: salt, sour, bitter, and sweet; other qualities of flavor depend on smell. Called also olfaction.



The organs of smell are small patches of special cells (olfactory cells) in the nasal mucosa. One patch is located in each of the two main compartments of the back of the nose. The olfactory cells are connected to the brain by the first cranial nerve (olfactory nerve). Air currents do not flow directly over the patches in breathing; this is why one must sniff to detect a faint odor or to enjoy a fragrance to the fullest.

When one sniffs, air currents carrying molecules of odorous chemicals enter special compartments, called olfactory chambers, where the chemicals are dissolved in mucus. There they can act on the organs of smell in much the same way that solutions act on the taste buds of the tongue. The endings of the sensory nerves that detect odors, the olfactory receptors, can quickly adapt to an odor and cease to be stimulated by it after a few minutes of full exposure.

The sense of smell may be diminished or lost entirely, usually temporarily, as a result of an obstruction of the nose, nasal infection, injury or deterioration of the nasal tissue, brain tumor, or mental illness. In rare instances, injury or disease causes such damage to the olfactory nerve that loss of the sense of smell is permanent. Complete absence of the sense of smell is known as anosmia.

ol·fac·tion

(ol-fak'shŭn),
1. The sense of smell.
2. The act of smelling.
Synonym(s): osmesis, osphresis
[L. ol- facio, pp. -factus, to smell]

olfaction

(ŏl-făk′shən, ōl-)
n.
1. The sense of smell.
2. The act or process of smelling.

ol·fac·tion

(ōl-fak'shŭn)
1. The sense of smell.
Synonym(s): smell (2) .
2. The act of smelling.
Synonym(s): osphresis.
[L. ol-facio, pp. -factus, to smell]

olfaction

The sense of smell or the act of smelling.

olfaction

the sense of smell, in which there is chemoreception of molecules suspended in the air.

ol·fac·tion

(ōl-fak'shŭn)
1. Sense of smell.
2. Act of smelling.
[L. ol-facio, pp. -factus, to smell]

Patient discussion about olfaction

Q. I have a very acute sense of smell. Most things that have a smell cause me to have Migraines every day. I have heard that a chiropractor is who I need to treat me for this problem. Anyone else here have this problem? What have you done and were you able to treat it?

A. I can't remember where I heard about the chiropractor's involvement but it is really unpleasant. I tend to make life unpleasant for others to, just not to have a migraine. Things like cooking popcorn, perfumes, trash and many other things will give me a migraine (not a headache) right away. It may be called Hyperosmia (abnormal sense of smell).

Q. MY friends body is leaking and he smells awful. He also has a skin rash. He stinks.Can I help him.He is big. smokes too much,and does shower but he still smells. I need to get him in a chairty hospital. If ignored what will happened. Thank You Bettye

A. HI betty,thank god he has a friend like you--I dont like saying this but,your friend is killing himself,and the sooner you try to get him into a hospital the better--it not going to be easy-but you can only try.At this point he is at risk of LUNG CANCER--A VERY BAD INFECTION--AND CARDIAC ARREST,because of his weight,eating is an addiction,and people die from it,also people die from respiratory arrest because of his weight--stay strong--mrfoot56

More discussions about olfaction
References in periodicals archive ?
Failure to demonstrate systematic changes in olfactory perception in the course of pregnancy: A longitudinal study.
We investigated olfactory perception using the 12item UPSIT, which is the abbreviated version of the 40item UPSIT.
In olfaction, evidence for encoding as a configuration appears to be the rule rather than the exception, and the strongest support for this idea comes from examining the ecology of olfactory perception. Most olfactory stimuli are composed of 10s or 100s of chemical constituents (e.g., Maarse, 1991), yet our experience of odors is unitary; we smell strawberry, not the 360 or so volatile chemicals which have been identified to constitute strawberry aroma (Latrasse, 1991).
LEARNING TO SMELL: OLFACTORY PERCEPTION FROM NEUROBIOLOGY TO BEHAVIOR is written by a neurobiologist and psychologist and provides a new theory of olfactory perception, making it a recommended pick for any college-level health library holding.
Learning to smell; olfactory perception from neurobiology to behavior.
"Sniffing is not just a way to pick up smells, it's a part of olfactory perception," says Berkeley psychologist Noam Sobel, a coauthor of the new study.
The integration of hormonal and neural elements in mediating olfactory perception is relatively well understood for insects (Palaniswamy et al., 1979; Davis, 1984; Linn et al., 1992), but not for other taxa (but see Gleeson et al., 1987; Kelley, 1988; Sears et al., 1991).