November 10, 2014 | Pippa

I think tasty food is one of life's essential luxuries. It's sad that many older people lose their sense of taste so that their eating experience becomes a bland one.

Older people's taste problems occur when their taste buds stop sending signals properly to the brain.

Scientists studying mice have found the cells in the brain that correspond to the five types of taste: sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami (savoury). This new discovery could eventually lead to methods of stimulating those brain cells more effectively, giving people back their sense of taste.

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The mice were genetically engineered so that their neurons glowed to show how taste signals reach brain cells.

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Image: Flickr/rusticus80

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