More Brain Cells Lead to Better Sense of Smell among Women

Did you know women have a better sense of smell than men? Have you wondered why that is? According to a recent study, researchers discovered that women have more brain cells that are responsible for the sense of smell.

A team of researchers from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, said having more brain cells in the olfactory bulb may explain why women have the edge in smelling over men. The olfactory bulb is an area in the brain that receives signals from the nose. When odors are sensed, it goes through the nostrils and the information signal is sent to the brain for processing. For this study, the researchers sought to establish the considerable differences between men and women, with the latter doing better in odor-sensing tests.

There have been previous studies in the past seeking to establish the superior smelling abilities of women. But despite the use of state-of-the-art brain scanners that measure the structural differences between the sexes, there have been mixed results without any definitive answer.

For this study, the researchers, led by Prof. Roberto Lent of Rio Federal University's Institute of Biomedical Sciences, did a postmortem examination of the brains of 7 men and 11 women who were healthy in their lifetimes and died over the age of 55; none of the subjects were employed in any occupation that requires excellent sense of smell.

The study revealed that women have around 50 percent more olfactory neurons in the brain compared to men. However, the researchers acknowledged that this may not be as conclusive as they hoped it would be in establishing women's superiority over men as far as smelling.

Because the brain does not amass cells as we age, Prof. Lent hinted that women are simply equipped with more olfactory neurons and they have more cells even from the time they are born.

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