Thursday, March 15, 2007

Would you Trade your Sense of Smell for a Longer Life?

Recent experiments on fruit flies undergoing Caloric Restriction seem to show that the effect of CR is reduced or eliminated if the flies are exposed to the odor of food (yeast in their case). That led to experiments in which the experimenters genetically eliminated the flies' ability to smell. They found a stronger contribution to lifespan from smelling the food than from how much the flies ate.

Would you give up your sense of smell if it meant living 50% longer? The question is only hypothetical at this point: replications in other species haven't been reported yet.

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