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In The Future, Taste Buds May Help Make Medicine Better

What else can your taste buds do?

Taste is obviously central to the way people experience food; aside from its benefits in the areas of nutrition and energy, the greatest draw of mealtime is the promise of varied and enticing flavors. But in the future, it's possible that our ability to taste will transcend breakfast, lunch, and dinner and become a key component of a doctor's visit as well

According to Danielle Reed, the associate director at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, taste receptors in the body — in places other than the mouth — are able to identify harmful bacteria by their bitter taste. Scientists think it may be possible to harness that recognition power and apply it to medicine; a simple taste test might be able to determine if a medication will work for you based on how bitter or sweet it is on the tongue. While these developments are still a ways off, they certainly could save patients a lot of time and money.

The Monell Chemical Senses Center is a non-profit, independent research institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, dedicated to studying taste, smell, and chemosensory irritation. The scientists at the Monell Center direct their findings toward advancements across disciples, from health and medicine to the environment to human behavior.

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