Knows When Death Is Near And Everything Starts With Your Nose

Body and mind are inseparable, as are thoughts and emotions. Far from being a stack of organs on which the brain would be king, the body is a complex and mysterious entity that pushes scientists and psychologists to question its capabilities.

Indeed, without the mind taking precedence over the body, or vice versa, the two unite to allow us to be healthy in general. For example, when we are angry, it is difficult for us to calm ourselves down, so we resort to relaxing physical methods such as massage. In addition, we have many meanings that add to our ability to interpret what surrounds us and what it means.

The smell

Indeed, five senses are part of the human body including the sense of smell. The latter has been the subject of several studies to understand our ability to differentiate the smell of a cake being cooked and the smell of burning. In fact, molecules, emitted by odorous substances, are transported by the air and according to their size, their path to our olfactory membrane will be more or less long.

The olfactory membrane, composed of yellow-gray tissue and covered with thick mucus, is at the top of the nasal cavity and contains many receptor cells. Once a molecule binds to the corresponding receptor, since each type of receptor cell reacts to the dimensions of a particular molecule, it causes the formation of a nerve impulse. The latter progresses to the brain through a very thin bone (called cribbed blade) behind which are olfactory bulbs. Thus, the transmission of nerve impulses is organized and the brain can then distribute the information, for analysis, in the appropriate areas.

Smell and death nearby

In addition, the human brain can identify thousands of odors including that of death nearby.

On the same principle that we feel anguish and fear when we are in a hospital; a recent study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, was conducted by Dr. Wisman, professor of psychology and Ilan Shira of the Department of Behavioral Sciences of Arkansas Tech University, about the behavioral effects of putrescine on humans.

Putrescine, also known as tetramethylene diamine or 1,4-diaminubutane, is a chemical element that is distinguished by its unsustainable odor. It is caused by the deterioration of amino acids found in organisms, whether dead or alive. Currently, it is used in the pharmaceutical industry to synthesize certain drugs and is used to make pesticides.

Faced with this odor, animals associate it with two types of hazards: the first as the presence of a dangerous predator and the second as the presence of deadly pathogens. In both cases, the animals react by moving away from the area to avoid being injured or dying.

Regarding humans, researchers have based on four different aspects to test their reaction, including:

Vigilance: For this first experiment, the scientists tested the vigilance of the subjects after some were briefly exposed to the smell of putrescine and others to the smell of ammonia and water. The results showed that subjects exposed to putrescine respond with greater vigilance, and therefore faster, than those exposed to ammonia and water.


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