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Nacht van de Geschiedenis

AromaJockey Scentman & Caro Verbeek: Geluk in de geur van kunst en geschiedenis | 22.20-22.50 uur De (kunst-)geschiedenis staat bol van geuren. Deze hadden vaak een religieuze betekenis en werden bewust ingezet om hun invloed op het gemoed. Maar ook onbedoeld hadden ze een enorme impact, zoals tijdens oorlogen. Volgens ...
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Superior Olfactory Language and Cognition in Odor-Color Synaesthesia

Laura Speed and Asifa Majid have published a new paper about how automatic associations between odor and vision can be an advantage for odor cognition. Odor-color synaesthestes, people automatically see colors when they smell things, were found to be better at naming odors, at discriminating between odors, and discriminating between colors, ...
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Eten ouderen met dementie beter door ze voor de maaltijd bloot te stellen aan etensgeuren?

Amaris Zorggroep ontvangt bijna 100.000 euro subsidie om die vraag samen met de Wageningen Universiteit te onderzoeken. Bij veel mensen met dementie komt ondervoeding voor. Ook al in een vroeg stadium. Gebleken is dat bij ondervoede dementerenden meer gezondheidsproblemen voorkomen en dat de ziekte ook sneller verloopt. Dementie is na ...
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Review papers on anosmia

Two other great reviews came out this month tackling different perspectives of anosmia. “Anosmia - a clinical review”, is the result of Nose member Sanne Boesveldt’s clinical symposium at last year's AChemS meeting, including a patient perspective on losing the sense of smell with information on Fifth Sense, a nonprofit ...
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Poor Human Olfaction is a 19th Century Myth

Excellent review by John McGann in Science on the human sense of smell titled "Poor Human Olfaction is a 19th Century Myth."; It summarizes the history of the idea that humans have a poor sense of smell compared to other animals and reviews the compelling neurobiological and sensory evidence that ...
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Highlights from the inaugural NOSE scientific meeting

 

Despite the long and illustrious history of olfaction research in the Netherlands (e.g., Hendrik
Zwaardemaker from Utrecht University invented the olfactometer in 1888), there has never been a
dedicated national platform for olfactory researchers and allied parties to meet and exchange the
latest research perspectives. On November 15th the inaugural NOSE scientific meeting was held at
Utrecht University. The meeting included speakers from a range of disciplines (from medicine to art
history), and highlighted the breadth of olfactory research present today in the Netherlands. We
present some highlights of the events for those budding odour enthusiasts who were unable to
attend, and for those enthusiastic attendees who would like to relive the day.

Sanne Boesveldt (Wageningen University) discussed how olfactory cues can affect appetite and
eating behaviour, raising questions about when odours can be effective cues for food, and whether
they could be manipulated to increase healthy food behaviour. Peter de Jong (University of
Groningen) introduced how odour can be used in psychopathology and explained how disgust odours
can affect sexual behaviour. Garmt Dijksterhuis (Wageningen University) strongly argued olfactory
transmission is an unlikely possibility, highlighting differences between olfaction and vision and
sound. Andrea Evers (Leiden University) raised the question of whether odours can be useful in
placebo research and provided evidence that odours can condition physiological responses. Rob
Holland (Radboud University) again highlighted the relationship between disgust and odour, showing
that disgusting pictures can lower olfactory threshold, implying we become more attuned to odour
when we’re in a state of disgust. Asifa Majid (Radboud University) added a cross-cultural perspective,
showing that although vision language dominates across languages, in some cultures elaborate odour
lexicons exist. With an interactive odour presentation, Caro Verbeek (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
explored historical smells and taught us how to “look at art with an olfactory gaze”. Wilbert Boek
(Hospital Gelderse Vallei) discussed odour from the perspective of an ENT doctor, and emphasised
the effect anosmia can have on one’s daily life, and how the medical profession should be more
aware of its importance. The meeting ended with Monique Smeets (Utrecht University), describing
her work on the role of odour in social signalling, for example, the odour of fearful sweat can lead to
fear expressions, and the odour of happy sweat can lead to happy expressions.
After this fascinating first meeting, we look forward to hearing from new members, and to further
olfactory events in the near future.

Laura Speed