Category Archives: Cool Science

Taste “map” of your tongue is a myth!

tngeFor years I have been teaching that there are various areas of your tongue that are sensitive to specific tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour ( and most recently umami which senses MSG).  As I was researching to once again teach the unit, I stumbled across numerous articles that basically said that everyone for years has accepted this theory of a “tongue map” without questioning the science behind it.  It turns out that research from as long ago as 1974  debunked the myth, but it continues to be taught and displayed in textbooks!

So, to those of you who could never quite understand why your taste buds didn’t fit the “test” with different solutions, you are vindicated!  Everyone IS ABLE to taste all types of tastes everywhere on the tongue, though some areas may have more receptors for specific types of tastes.  Then there is the whole issue of taste buds and whether or not you are a “super taster,” but that we will save for another time.

Here is an article from LiveScience magazine that cites some research, and is an easy read.

Keep on tasting!

 

 

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Bacteria: Good or Bad?

When you hear about bacteria, isn’t your first reaction to think “Yuck!  Bacteria bad, anti-bacterials good!”

Well, one of the newest fields in biological research today (only 10 years old) is focused on the importance of good bacteria that we are exposed to throughout our lives.  Recent research has shown that the more we try to avoid bacteria, the worse off we are in regards to our immune systems.  It turns out that the more bacteria we are exposed to early childhood, the stronger our immune systems will be as we grow older.

Here are two articles that I think you might find interesting.  The first is how bacteria and allergies are related.  The second is an episode from NPR’s Science Friday about the interaction of the bacteria in your body and its affect on your brain and your behavior.  Download the podcast and have fun learning!