Wednesday, 15 March 2017

[] Fwd: Pollution is killing your sense of smell


Pollution is killing your sense of smell!

Daily Mirror

And, a disrupted sense of smell puts you at higher risk of depression and anxiety

Modern life is killing our sense of smell, a top scientist has warned. Traffic pollution, uncollected rubbish, and messy homes are all having a harmful effect on the nose, Dr Kara Hoover, an expert in olfactory evolution, announced at the world's biggest science conference which was held in Boston.

"Our sense of smell evolved in a very rich landscape in which we were interacting regularly with the environment," she said. "Today we're not interacting with the environment and pollution is disrupting our sense of smell.That puts you at greater risk for things like mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, and it also puts you at greater risk for physical health problems such as obesity and social health problems like not being able to pick up on social cues from other human beings."

She explained: "People who have suffered from a loss of smell have increased anxiety over their own body odour because they don't know if they smell bad or not. They're anxious about not being able to smell danger like gas leaks or smoke. They suffer from poor quality of life and depression because they're no longer engaging with food or even with loved ones in terms of their sense of smell."

Studies had also shown a link between smell loss and obesity. Dr Hoover said: "If you have an impaired sense of smell you're getting sated more from taste and seeking richer tastes -salty and fatty food." One study of adults with a very strong sense of smell found that they tended to have low body weight.

People from more disadvantaged backgrounds are more at risk because of their greater exposure to pollution, Dr Hoover believes. Bus passengers were eight times more exposed to traffic pollution than car drivers.Similarly, people forced to live in dirty and polluted areas, or whose rubbish was not collected regularly, were likely to suffer more smell impairment.

Dr Hoover has conducted new research comparing the smelling ability of Homo sapiens and two now-extinct human subspecies: Neanderthals and Denisovans. She discovered that the Denisovans had a "less functional" sense of smell compared with early modern humans and Neanderthals. "Our sense of smell seems to be very similar to Neanderthals'. They couldn't smell grass, so this suggests that they had a different adaptation," said Dr Hoover.




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