HUMAN TASTE TEST: Taste is the ability to respond to dissolved molecules and ions called tastants, which humans detect via taste receptor cells, clustered into taste buds. The tongue has about 10,000 taste buds. When these detect food particles, they send signals to the brain carrying information about their "taste." Each taste bud contains 50-100 taste cells, representing the five taste sensations: salty, sour, sweet, bitter and umami (the response to acidic salts like MSG, often used as a flavor enhancer in Asian dishes, processed meats, and processed cheeses, often labeled "savory"). Recent research indicates the existence of a sixth taste, one for calcium.
Calcium and each of the other tastes has its own receptors that bond to specific molecules and ions response for the various taste sensations, connected to a sensory neuron leading back to the brain. So taste -- like all sensations -- resides in the brain. That's the reason different people like different things. Although a single cell may have several types of receptors, one may be more active than the others, so certain tastes will be preferred by that individual. Also, no single taste cell contains receptors for both bitter and sweet tastants.
PROTECTING AGAINST OSTEOPOROSIS: Eighty-five to ninety percent of bone mass is acquired in early life, which makes developing strong bones as a child and teenager important. Other preventative measures include obtaining the recommended amount of calcium and vitamin D, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol, and obtaining bone density tests to check if treatment is necessary. Women make up eighty percent of the people suffering from osteoporosis, but it also affects men. Osteoporosis most often strikes the elderly, but it can impact people of any age. People cannot feel their bones weakening, so preventative efforts are important in avoiding the adverse effects of the disease.
This report has been produced thanks to a generous grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.