Genetic trigger could combat declining sense of smell

Genetic trigger could combat declining sense of smell

New research could help those who experience a declining sense of smell with age.

Neuroscientists at the University of California have discovered a genetic trigger that makes stem cells differentiate in nose epithelia and renew smell sensors.

Olfactory stem cells are told by the genetic trigger to mature into the sensory neurons that detect odors and relay that information to the brain.

The study could lead to new therapies for those who have lost their sense of smell.
"Anosmia the absence of smell is a vastly underappreciated public health problem in our aging population," lead researcher John Ngai stated.

"Many people lose the will to eat, which can lead to malnutrition, because the ability to taste depends on our sense of smell, which often declines with age," he continued.

Despite the complications associated with declining sense of smell, research has found that people who have a reduced ability to detect odors attach less importance to the missing sense than those with a normal functioning nose.

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