Loss of smell: a bionic nose to overcome the effects?  – Actusante.net

Loss of smell: a bionic nose to overcome the effects? – Actusante.net

Scientists are trying to develop a tool to overcome the effects of anosmia, which are especially encountered in cases of prolonged Covid.

Richard Costanzo heads the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Commonwealth University in Virginia, United States. He has been studying cases of anosmia, i.e. partial or complete loss of smell, for 40 years.

And the occurrence of the Covid pandemic, which led to a strong excessive cases of loss of smellgave him another reason to want to fight its consequences.

The bionic nose: an ambitious project

The goal is to develop a prosthesis that will replace the olfactory sensors. And that’s no small thing, because as reminds us of Le Pointapproximately 400 types of these sensors are able to distinguish 1000 billion odors.

With the help of Daniel Coelho, a professor specializing in ENT, he therefore wants to “short-circuit” this incredibly complex system. It was already necessary to choose an odor sensor, in this case a technology based on semiconductor materials developed by other laboratories. Suffice it to say that the work is titanic, because the tools available so far are not able to recognize more than a few dozen smells.

transmission of signals to the brain

But then how to ensure the transmission of signals to brain ? The pathway of olfactory signals is complicated. They are chemoreceptors in the nose that provide transmission to the two olfactory bulbs located behind the nasal cavity. After treatment, it returns to other parts of the brain, which are devoted to memory and emotions, among other things.

All that remains is to know to which parts of the brain the signals captured by the bionic nose spread. In the meantime, it is certain that cochlear implants, such as those already used to improve hearing, will be in charge of the transmission.

According to researchers, it “It will take another 10 to 15 years before a functional prosthesis can be presented”. Other scientists are betting on “restarting” stem cells areas damaged by Covid.

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