Brain has special neurons for each taste sensation
The brain has specific neurons that are responsible for each of the five taste sensations, according to new research.
Scientists from Columbia University used mice to determine how the brain works to perceive each of the five taste categories—salty, bitter, sour, sweet and umami or savory. The mice were fed chemicals that triggered one of the taste categories while the researchers monitored activity and changes in the brain.
The researchers found that each taste category sensed by the mice’s tongues was connected to a different part of the brain.
The study’s findings, published in the journal Nature, refutes theories on how the brain perceives taste, such as the belief that sweet flavors are sensed only on the tip of the tongue or that brain cells respond to multiple tastes. Researchers also said the findings could be used to help reverse the loss of taste that often comes with aging.