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Taste Cortex: Pinpointing Brain Regions That Detect Certain Flavors

For all our knowledge about how the brain processes sight, sound, smell and touch, very little is understood about taste. Researchers have been unsure whether specific brain cell groups are devoted to the five main taste groups, just like there are specific, finely tuned taste receptors on your tongue.

Researchers from Columbia University now say they’ve identified these neuron groups, and have built a map of the “gustatory cortex.” It’s the first map showing how taste is represented in the mammalian brain.

A team led by neuroscientist Charles Zuker used a technique called two-photon calcium imaging to monitor neural activity that was sparked by “tastants,” as they put it.

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