An interview between Caro Verbeek and Sanne Boesveldt about the latest on COVID-19 and anosmia

Anosmia or ‘smell-blindness’ is one of the symptoms of covid-19. Scent historian Caro Verbeek interviews neuro-biologist Sanne Boesveldt on the relation between this disease and the chemical senses and the underestimated importance of olfaction ...
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NOSE in the news

In the past weeks, NOSE has been featured in several Dutch and Belgian media outlets. Caro Verbeek was interviewed for the Belgian magazine Knack, on whether smells may promote learning (Dutch only): Ilja Croijmans was interviewed by the newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, on why some perfumes are marketed for men ...
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We care about your smell loss!

A frequent comment from patients with smell loss is that doctors and researchers do not care about the condition of anosmia and related disorders. This short video was made by the GCCR and is aimed at patients with a simple message: together we care. NOSE is involved in two efforts ...
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Why do ‘vagina-scented’ candles sell out so fast?

Perfumer Frank Bloem and scent historian Caro Verbeek were asked about the remarkable succes of a scented candle issued by Gwyneth Paltrow. The supposedly 'vagina-scented' item was sold out immediately. Is this a an act of emancipation or rather heightening existing taboos on female body odours? And how were body ...
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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