MCB faculty Venkatesh Murthy has been appearing on the podcast and interview radio circuit, discussing the neuroscience of smell. More people are listening to podcasts than ever before, and discussions about smell’s role in cognition are particularly salient right now, because COVID-19 often causes anosmia, or a loss of sense of smell.
In a February 9 segment for the radio show Top of the Mind with Julie Rose, host Julie Rose asked Murthy what life would be like without smell. Murthy responded by explaining smell’s roles in the experience of food and the formation of memories and emotions. Listen to the full segment here.
Last month, Murthy also made a guest appearance on the podcast Pint-Size Science, which is co-hosted by MCO graduate student Anastasia Repouliou (G3) of the Garner Lab. In the episode, Murthy explains that while humans tend to consciously think about sight and sound the most, smell is actually the primary sense that many animals use to explore the world. He also discusses how people think about their sense of smell and potential uses of technology capable of sending smells across the internet
Around the 38-minute mark, the discussion turns to COVID-19 and the effects of diminished sense of smell. “Other flus and other cold viruses, many of those lead to a loss of sense of smell. But why is it that those never got attention?” Murthy says. “That’s a very good question. I think that, first and foremost, it is a sociological thing. It takes us a while to realize that we have lost this sense of smell…and even when we do, we don’t care about it as much. So I think…COVID is bringing a little more awareness.” He adds that diminished or altered smell perception is correlated with mood disorders like depression and the onset of Alzheimer’s.