The senses: Smell and taste

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Manage episode 269908908 series 1301444
By BBC and BBC World Service. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Imagine spraying yourself with a flowery fragrance but all you can smell is rotting flesh? Our senses can be surprisingly strange, especially when they malfunction due to injury, disease or genetic abnormalities. In this episode, neurologist Dr Guy Leschziner, explores two senses, smell and taste - separate yet inextricably linked. We meet Joanne, whose sense of smell is so distorted after a heavy cold, even freshly-cut grass smells repulsive. We also hear from Walter who loves to cook and eat German cuisine but finds that pleasure is ruined when everything, even fine wine, tastes of metal. By contrast, 15 year-old Abi’s sense of taste is working properly. She can tell if her food is sweet or salty. But Abi was born without a sense of smell (anosmia), which also means anything she eats has no flavour – because that’s created by smell and taste working together. Loss of smell, an early symptom of coronavirus, has raised awareness of this important, yet neglected sense, often only appreciated when it’s gone. Yet so vital it’s wired directly to parts of the brain responsible for memories and emotion. Produced by Sally Abrahams for the BBC World Service. Photo: Abi in a field of yellow flowers. Credit BBC

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