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BrainFacts.org

Introduction

From the jarring sound of a car horn to the enticing smell of a favorite meal, our senses help us navigate smoothly through day-to-day activities. Every sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch stems from a flurry of activity between brain cells. But what happens when the brain fails to process sensory information with ease? With recent advances in genetics and imaging technology, researchers hope to gain new insight into what goes wrong in disorders including eye disease, hearing loss, and persistent pain. Ongoing studies are helping researchers identify genes that underlie everything from inherited forms of deafness and eye disease to those that influence taste. Scientists are studying how to replace nerve cells that help process sight and sound in an effort to help the millions worldwide with sensory loss. Researchers are also using modern imaging tools to study perception of sensory information and how it becomes distorted in disorders such as persistent pain.

Discoveries

Source: Dana Foundation
Possible links between impaired hearing and loss of cognitive abilities raise the tantalizing possibility that restoring hearing could slow cognitive decline.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
How accurately do your eyes see the world?
Source: Society for Neuroscience

How do your eyes and brain allow you to see? Find out in this watercolor journey through the visual system.

Senses and Perception in the News

Source: Nature
Date: 25 Nov 2014
Reprogrammed human and mouse cells offer way to identify new painkilling drugs.
Source: LiveScience
Date: 18 Nov 2014

For Bryan Voltaggio, cooking is about creating a memorable experience. It starts even before a person tastes the food — with the sights, sounds and smells that build anticipation — and culminates with the experience of tasting flavors that call to mind a familiar setting.

Source: ABC
Date: 16 Nov 2014
Research presented Sunday at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience sheds light on how the brain processes the sense of touch, and adapts when it goes awry.