The human tongue has about 2,000–8,000 taste buds. On each one there are hundreds of thousands of receptor cells. Since the number of taste buds is so different from person to person, taste sensations vary greatly. However, taste buds can be fooled. For example, spoons made from copper or zinc can enhance a food’s saltiness. Temperature is another important factor. Warm beer may taste bitter and cold ham may taste saltier. Recalling a pleasant memory of an item on your plate will actually make it taste more delicious. Color can also influence temperature. Forty eight participants in a French study actually preferred soda from a blue glass because they felt it tasted colder. Our environment can play a big part as to what degree we enjoy our food.
Projecting a three dimensional image of a person’s brain, heart, lung or any organ in question while operating may be the future of medicine. The ability to look through a person in a 3 dimensional way can help physicians more accurately plan and perform surgeries. This will help in removing tumors, taking biopsies and even guiding the placement of catheters in the brain. Within the next 10 years surgeons will be able to glance at these holograms and not be restricted to looking up at a screen. Progress is already under way at Duke University Robotics Program’s Brain Tool Laboratory. A proposal for a Hololens Development Kit was already accepted by Microsoft and is in development.
New technology is changing the science of transplants as we now know it. Through use of 3D printers everything from ears to most organs will someday be possible to reproduce. Bio-printing, although in the experimental stage, is expected to be a big part of the future of the medical field. At present many patients die while waiting for a suitable organ donor. Researchers at Wade Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine have been creating porous frames resembling the shape of a particular organ they wish to reproduce. The unoccupied spaces can be filled with living cells using the printer’s bio-ink marker. At present bio-printed tissue is being used for drug testing and the first transplantable tissues are expected to be approved within one year. The process involves spraying layer upon layer of different cells and at the same time spraying polymers to help keep a particular shape. If the stems cells come from the patient receiving the transplant, there is little possibility of rejection. Approximately 125,000 people die yearly because they are unable to find a suitable organ donor. The success of 3D printers and bio-technology will make it possible to replace blood vessels, skin, bones, cartilage, organs and tissue in the near future.
Research into the microbes that lie within our gut is constantly being explored. These microbes can affect our weight, mood, our vulnerability to allergies, disease and infection. They can also have an effect on how sexy we are perceived. Researchers at M.I.T. are calling it the “glow of health”. They are finding that these microbes may have a strong effect on our skin, hair and even our stride when walking. Tests were done on male mice in which they were given human breast milk. They not only developed thick lustrous fur but had an increase in testosterone which resulted in larger testicles making them a rodent heartthrob. Female mice showed stronger anti-inflammatory markers, had healthier pregnancies and tended to their off springs in a more caring and loving way. This may suggest that not only do these healthy microbes create hormones that have a tendency to draw healthier people together but in so doing can also ensure their own survival. In another study done in Switzerland, researchers concentrated on the microbes that were responsible for body odor. Women were asked to sniff tee shirts worn by various men. The women preferred the tee shirt worn by a man whose immune system was opposite theirs. This in turn would ensure a healthier offspring with a wider variety of microbes. Having healthy gut bacteria may prove more beneficial then hair gel when seeking a mate.