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Congenital Anosmia

Have you ever wondered what life would be like without the sense of smell? Learn more about a rare condition called congenital anosmia and how the brain processes smell.

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Colm Kelleher: How We See Color

Colm Kelleher explains how humans can see everything from auburn to aquamarine.

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A Dose of Music for Pain Relief

A growing understanding of how music alters the experience of pain has led to the incorporation of musical therapy into pain rehabilitation programs.

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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

Image of the Week: The Secret of Blindsight

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Studying these cells may help explain how some sightless individuals can still detect motion around them.

Elliot Krane: How Do Nerves Work?

Source: TED
At any moment, there is an electrical storm coursing through your body. Discover how chemical reactions create an electric current that drives our responses to everything from hot pans to a mother’s caress.

Image of the Week: How Big Brains Handle Pain

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Brainy mollusks are enhancing our understanding of injury in the animal kingdom.

Synesthesia

Source: Society for Neuroscience

Imagine hearing a bird chirp and seeing the color yellow. This is what life may be like for someone with synesthesia. Explore the unique experiences of a synesthete and learn more about this rare condition. 

Senses and Perception in the News

Beyond Salty and Sweet: A Budding Club of Tastes

Source: The New York Times Well Blog
Date: 21 July 2014
Although there is still no consensus beyond sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savory, the research makes clear there is more to taste than a handful of sensations.

How the Colour-Blind See Art With Different Eyes

Source: BBC
Date: 20 June 2014

The subject of colour blindness is tackled in an interactive part of an exhibition devoted to the science behind colour vision.


Our Brains Are Made for Enjoying Art

Source: Wall Street Journal
Date: 16 June 2014
Analysis suggests art appreciation is a natural biological process.