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Does our sense of smell work differently than we previously thought? – Naturopathy & Naturopathy specialist portal

Left-handed women often exhibit aberrations in the sense of smell

Our sense of smell is significantly affected by the odor ball (odor ball) and disturbances in the odor ball are considered a possible cause of the deterioration of the odor feeling according to current research status. However, in a new study, an Israeli research team discovered that some people lack a smell ball and still have a very good sense of smell.

Is the brain structure of the olfactory bulb important for the sense of smell? The Weizmann Institute of Science research team claims: No! Because some people can smell good even without the smell of onions. This shakes the precursors to the function of the sense of smell. The results of the study were published in the journal "Neuron".

Missing olfactory bulbs Cause of olfactory disorders

Previous studies have shown that the odor sense often does not work in the case of congenital absence of the olfactory bulb. However, as an indication for participation in the studies, an odor disturbance is usually used. People without odor bulbs, whose odor is normal, are therefore excluded. In studies of rodents whose odor ball was removed, there was evidence that the odor sense could still be preserved. However, these have not received further attention in the medical world to date.

MRT with Surprising Findings
Tali Weiss, Sagit Shushan and prof. Noam Sobel from the Department of Neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute of Science has now analyzed the function of the sense of smell based on MRI examinations. Surprisingly, the researchers of a 29-year-old woman found that this had no olfactory bulb, although her sense of smell worked perfectly normally.

Four percent of left-handed women hit

"We tested their odor abilities in every conceivable way, and they were right," said Prof. Sobel in a press release from the Weizmann Institute of Science. Her sense of smell was really above average and she had no bulb, Sobel reports. The researchers also observe the same phenomenon in a 26-year-old. They therefore searched available data from more than 1

,100 participants (including 606 women) and found that about 0.6 percent of women – and up to four percent of left-handed women, are affected.

No men showed the phenomenon

But scientists could not identify a single man who had both an intact sense of smell and a missing smell ball. It was also astonishing that among the identified women there were two left-handed monozygotic twins, both of whom performed better in odor samples than their twin sisters who had normal odor bulbs, the research team reports.

Previous theories obsolete?

Get updated with the study results the earlier idea that the scent lamp is absolutely necessary for smelling, strongly in doubt, the researchers emphasize. It is obvious that the identified "women smell the world just like the rest of us, and we do not know how to achieve it," says Professor Sobel. (fp)


Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • Tali Weiss, Timna Soroka, Lior Gorodisky, Sagit Shushan, Kobi Snitz, Reut Weissgross, Edna Furman-Haran, Thijs Dhollander, Noam Sobel: Human Olfaction without apparent Olfactory Bulbs; in: Neuron (published 11/6/2019), cell.com
  • Weizmann Institute of Science: An exception to the rule: An intact sense of smell without a crucial odor structure in the brain (published 11/6/2019), wis- wander.weizmann .ac.il

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