Smell-and-Hair and Sounds-and-Cheese Experiments

Smells have effects on hair follicles and sounds have effects on the taste of cheese, sometimes, suggest two recent—but not necessarily related studies.

The sound-and-hair study is described in LiveScience (thanks to Francesca Bewer for bringing this to our attention):

Like your nose, your hair can detect odors. In a new study, researchers found that hair follicles contain olfactory receptors — the same kind of chemical receptors that lie deep in the nasal passages. In the nose, these receptors bind to odor molecules that waft in, sending signals to your brain to alert you that something reeks — or smells delicious.

What’s more, the researchers found, these hair-follicle receptors can be activated by synthetic sandalwood to stimulate hair growth, according to the study, published Sept. 18 in the journal Nature Communications….

The sound-and-cheese experiment is described, so far as we are aware, only in press accounts. (Thanks to Reto Schneider for bringing those to our attention.) The SwissInfo web site says:

A quirky experiment that exposed Swiss cheese to different kinds of music found that hip-hop made it taste the best.

Eight wheels of “Muttenglück” Emmental cheese from World Cheese Championship winner Antony Wyss were subjected separately to different musical stimulus – Mozart, A Tribe Called Quest, Yello, Led Zeppelin, techno and three sinusoidal sounds – round-the-clock for eight months. The experiment was part of a collaboration between students of the University of Arts Bern and veterinarian Beat Wampfler who came up with the idea…..