HUMAN TASTE TEST: Taste is the ability to respond to dissolved molecules and ions called tastants, which humans detect via taste receptor cells, which are 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).
Each taste cell has receptors that bond to specific molecules and ions in response to 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.
WHAT IS BLOOD PRESSURE: Blood pressure is made up of two measures, the force in the arteries when the heart beats and when the heart is at rest. When blood pressure is high, there is an increased risk of heart disease (which leads to heart attack) and stroke. It is most common in adults over age 35, and is especially prevalent in African Americans, the middle-aged and elderly, obese people, heavy drinkers, and women who are taking birth control pills. Those with diabetes, gout or kidney disease are also prone to suffer from high blood pressure. Reducing blood pressure is associated with lowering the risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease. Lowering salt intake is one of several steps that can contribute to lowering blood pressure.
This report has been produced thanks to a generous grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.