People are less likely to get back brain cells that may have burned out, but there are no such threats associated with burning taste cells and they are likely to regain normal sense of taste within days, the researchers noted.

"Brain cells generally do not regenerate, which is why diseases such as Alzheimer's are so devastating," Hill said.

"However, some hope for understanding the way neurons may regenerate may come from studies of the olfactory system. Olfactory receptor neurons are constantly dying and being replaced, which can give researchers new understanding of how these neurons are able to regenerate,"  Hill said.

"What we learn from the taste system can be applied broadly to our understanding of neurology," he added.

What we view as the sense of taste is actually a combination of smell, taste and texture, with smell playing a major role. A single taste bud can have dozens of receptor cells that send signals of sour, sweet, salty and bitter through nerve channels to the brain.

"Some medicines can compromise the sense of taste, but no life-changing diseases occur with this sense in the way that there are so many diseases associated with the brain, with hearing, sight and even the sense of touch," he said.

-The new finding on the mouse taste system was published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

 

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