In the womb, babies react to smells and tastes differently.

posted on 09/23/2022 06:00

  (credit: Durham University/Aston University)


(credit: Durham University/Aston University)

Scientists have recorded the first direct evidence that babies react differently to various smells and tastes while in the womb by observing their facial expressions. A study led by the Fetal and Neonatal Research Laboratory at the University of Durham in the UK took 4D ultrasound scans of 100 pregnant women to see how the fetuses responded after being exposed to flavors of food consumed by the mothers.

The researchers looked at how the fetuses reacted to the flavors of carrots or kale shortly after being ingested by the women. The fetuses exposed to carrots showed more “laughing face” responses, while those exposed to kale showed more “crying face” responses. The findings were published in the journal Psychological Science, and, according to the paper’s authors, could deepen our understanding of the development of human taste and smell receptors.

The team also believes that what pregnant women eat can influence babies’ taste preferences after birth and potentially have implications for establishing healthy eating habits.

“We think this repeated exposure to flavors before birth can help establish food preferences afterwards, which can be important when thinking about messages about healthy eating and the potential to avoid ‘binge eating’ during weaning,” says the lead researcher. Beyza Ustun of the Fetal and Neonatal Research Laboratory in the Department of Psychology at Durham University.

amniotic fluid

Humans experience taste through a combination of taste and smell. In fetuses, it is thought that this can happen through inhalation and ingestion of amniotic fluid in the uterus. “Several studies have suggested that babies can taste and smell in the womb, but these are research based on postpartum outcomes, while our study is the first to see these reactions before birth,” Ustun emphasized.

Previous research conducted by the group has suggested that 4D ultrasounds can help monitor fetal reactions and understand how they respond to maternal health behaviors such as smoking.”This latest study may have important implications for understanding early evidence of fetal abilities to feel and feel. discriminate different tastes and smells from the foods their mothers eat,” said co-author Nadja Reissland, also head of the Fetal and Neonatal Research Laboratory in the Department of Psychology at the University of Durham.

In the evaluation of Benoist Schaal, from the National Center for Scientific Research at the University of Burgundy, in France, observing the facial reactions of fetuses, it can be assumed that a series of chemical stimuli passes through the maternal diet to the fetal environment. “This could have important implications for our understanding of the development of our taste and smell receptors and related perception and memory,” said the study’s co-author.

Hot gas bubble circles black hole

  (credit: EHT Collaboration, ESO/M. Kornme)


credit: EHT Collaboration, ESO/M. kornme

Astronomers have observed the fleeting appearance of a gas bubble circling the Milky Way’s black hole at surprising speeds. The detection of the object, whose lifetime did not exceed a few hours, can provide information about the behavior of invisible giants, whose gravitational force is such that even light cannot escape from its interior. The phenomenon observed for about an hour and a half made it possible to calculate that the gas bubble made a complete orbit of the black hole (indicated in the photo) in just 70 minutes, that is, at a speed equivalent to 30% of the speed of light, which travels 300 thousand kilometers per second. The observation was made with the Alma telescope in Chile, and the result was published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics by researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

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