Meaning of Smell

What is smell:

Smell is known as one of the five senses that allows us to perceive and distinguish smells. The word smell is of Latin origin "Olfactus”.

The main organ that is in charge of discovering and differentiating odors varies according to the species; With respect to humans, it is the nose that perceives odors, while in insects, it is a function performed by the sensory cells located near the mouth or antennae.

The physiology of smell begins when air along with molecules enters through the nostrils. Inside the nose, there are 3 turbinates, surrounded by a named pituitary membrane, which is responsible for heating the air before it reaches the lungs. The pituitary membrane contains olfactory receptors, those responsible for collecting the chemicals that are sent to the olfactory bulb through nerve fibers, and in turn to the brain to identify the odors discovered.

On the other hand, in a figurative sense, the word smell is used to indicate individuals who have insight to discover an issue that is not obvious or that has a degree of difficulty in solving it. For instance; Carlota has a good nose for negotiations.

In relation to the above, legal sense understood as the individual that allows discovering different alternatives to offer in a short time the best solution to the problem posed by the client.

In English, the word smell is “smell ". Now, in the case of referring to the second definition indicated above, it is converted into "Instinct".

Smell and taste

Taste and smell are closely related. The taste buds located on the tongue are responsible for the identification of flavors, to distinguish between sweet, salty, bitter and sour.

Smells are often essential to identify more complex or equal flavors, for example, it is possible to distinguish the taste of an apple and a pear that both are sweet. That is why, when the olfactory capacity does not work correctly, the palate is compromised and sometimes the individual feels that everything they eat has no flavor.

Structure of smell

Consisting of the following parts:

  • Nose: located in the middle of the face, more or less pyramidal in shape. Internally divided by a vertical septum and two cavities called nostrils.
  • Nasal fossae: in the upper part it contains a cribriform plate of the ethmoid and a part of the sphenoid, on the sides are located the lateral masses of the ethmoid that form the superior, middle and inferior turbinates.
  • Turbinates: responsible for humidifying and heating the air that reaches the lungs and filtering the air that the individual breathes.
  • Villi: its function is to clean the air that enters through the nostrils.
  • Olfactory bulb: region of the central nervous system that processes information from the olfactory epithelium, capable of detecting odors, and in turn directs it to higher structures of the brain.
  • Olfactory nerve: responsible for transmitting the nerve impulse to the brain to develop a response to the olfactory stimulus.
  • Pituitary: mucous membrane that is divided into two parts:
  1. Yellow pituitary: located at the top of the nasal cavity, it is rich in nerve endings and its olfactory cells send impulses to the brain, which after being interpreted produce sensations that allow smells to be felt.
  2. Red pituitary: it is located in the lower part of the nasal cavity, it is composed of various blood vessels and secretory glands, responsible for keeping the region moist to heat the air that reaches the lungs and prevent the airways from drying out.
  • Nerve branches: also known as olfactory receptors. They are responsible for transmitting impulses from the olfactory cells to the olfactory bulb.

Smell of animals

The smell of individuals is much less developed than that of animals. That is, in humans, olfactory cells cover 10 cm2 of the nose, in puppies 25 cm2 and in sharks 60 cm2. Likewise, a person has about 20 million sensory cells, and canines have 100 million sensory cells.

An animal can smell a certain smell with 200 thousand molecules of a substance per cubic meter of air, on the other hand, a human being needs 500 million molecules of the substance per cubic meter of air to be able to perceive the smell. That is why animals have the ability to feel imperceptible odors by human beings, which is why they are used by humans to obtain benefits, such as detecting illegal and / or dangerous materials, gas leaks and electrical failures, finding people disappeared due to natural disasters or other causes.

Also, the smell of the animal allows detecting cancer cells, among other diseases.

Olfactory diseases

  • Anosmia, loss of smell.
  • Hyposmia, increased sensitivity to odors.
  • Sinusitis, the mucosa of the paranasal sinuses becomes inflamed, accompanied by severe headaches.
  • Rhinitis, affects the nasal mucosa, accompanied by sneezing, obstruction, nasal secretions, lack of smell.
  • Polyps, tumors that appear on irritated mucous membranes.

However, there are certain diseases that can affect smell such as:

  • Parkinson.
  • Alzheimer's.
  • Endocrinological diseases.
  • Nutritional disturbances.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Tumors in the nose or brain.
  • Tracheotomy.

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