Today in Research: In Praise of Eating More Often; a Smell Study

Discovered: Sex Pistol scrawls, ancient Chilean whale graveyard, refining a mouse's sense of smell, the conundrum of eating more often.

  • Refining the sharp sense of (a mouse's) smell. Do you remember that scene in Ratatouille, the one where Remy, the aspiring chef-mouse, sized up the complimentary smells of strawberry and cheese and learned to mix and match different foods? We couldn't help but be reminded of that Pixar moment after reading about this mouse-centered study by New York University scientists, which finds, in the release, that "with training, smell can improve." The researchers, however, didn't grant the mice involved a workspace as luxurious as a Parisian restaurant: in one experiment they "placed thirsty rats in boxes with a snout-sized hole in each of three walls and exposed them to brief blasts of odors through the middle hole. There were three smells in all: a mix of 10 chemicals from fruits, oils, cleaning agents, etc." In other tests, eventually, the researchers said, they trained other mice "to discriminate between the odors." "We made them connoisseurs," they stated in the release. Anyone can cook. [Eurekalert]
  • In praise of eating more often. The non-overweight among us tend to eat more often, but still consume fewer calories, quizzically reports Reuters from new research. "Most of the research has shown that people who eat more frequently have a lower weight. But no one knows why," said an assistant professor leading the study to the news outlet. How healthy people are able to do this seems to be a mystery, especially if that person is presented with the normal vending-machine, coffee-shop options that a typical office worker is presented with. We'd guess that they pack healthy, small snacks that they consume throughout the day to stave "off intense hunger," as Reuters notes. Or maybe they go for the  the theoretically better work snack of egg whites on toast, although how feasible (or appetizing) that is for the cubicle-bound is up for consideration. [Reuters]

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