Discovering a Way to Restore the Sense of Smell
The sense of smell as been restored to mice in which it had been destroyed, giving new hope to those who have lost this precious sense for one reason or another. The problem is focused in the cilia, tiny hairs on the inside of the nose. But cilia exist in other parts of the body as well. Because of this, it is hoped that there will be a wide variety of applications for the results from this study.
Real results from humans are still a ways off according to those who conducted the study. At first the focus is going to be on treating those who were born without a sense of smell. Later, it is hoped that the research will also be able to help those who have lost their sense of smell due to damages or simply old age.
The study was conducted using mice that had a very specific genetic defect which caused an inability to smell due to a lack of cilia. This condition can also affect humans. Both in mice and humans, the condition is fatal and significantly decreases life expectancy.
A cold virus was the medium used to transmit the genetic material to the inside of the noses of the mice. Once inside, researchers could observe the reconstruction of the genetic material inside the noses of the mice. After only two weeks, the mice had a substantial increase to their weight. This was proof that they were eating more. The increase was because they could smell again making it easier to find food and making the food more desirable by enhancing taste.
The researchers continue to look for further causes of the condition to see if the same treatment will work on more than just fatal genetic diseases. It is the hope of the researchers that this will finally result in a treatment that is both effective and non invasive.