The Sense of Taste

A new study reveals that taste and pain share the same neural circuitry.

This surprising finding was discovered by neuroscientists at the University of Oklahoma.

“We originally aimed to look at how sense of taste works with thermal sensation in this study to better understand how taste is connected to food preferences, health and well-being. Taste is also closely tied to emotion and understanding how the brain processes different tastes is significant on several levels,” said Christian Lemon, associate professor in the Oklahoma University Department of Biology. “What we found was a surprise because temperature signals were converging with taste near the mid-brain, but so were neural messages for taste and pain.”

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The mechanics of taste are still being explored. Behaviors such as food aversions and food preferences are not fully understood.

This study demonstrates the possibility that taste messages could change how pain signals are transmitted in the brain. This has potential repercussions for pain management and may help combat obesity.


James Fishman has been involved in the world of online magazines for more than 15 years. He helped launch Sunstone Online and continues to improve the magazine as site editor and administrator. His writing focuses primarily business and technology. To be in touch with James, feel free to contact him at james[at]

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