New Delhi: Specific odours that represent food are capable of altering an animal`s lifespan and physiological profile by activating a small number of highly specialised sensory neurons, says a new study. Nematode worms and fruit flies that were robbed of their ability to smell or taste, for example, lived substantially longer. However, the specific odours and sensory receptors that control this effect on ageing were unknown.
"We are working hard to understand how sensory perception affects health, and our new result really narrows the playing field. Somehow, these 50 or so neurons, whose primary job is to sense CO2, are capable of instigating changes that accelerate ageing throughout the organism," says Pletcher. Sensory perception has been shown to impact ageing in species that are separated by millions of years of evolution, suggesting that similar effects may be seen in humans, said a UM release. "For us, it may not be the smell of yeast, for example, or the sensing of CO2 that affects how long we live, but it may be the perception of food or danger," says Pletcher. IANS
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