According to a new study, some women who are missing (or, at the very least, have significantly reduced) olfactory bulbs in their brains are still able to smell. It is a surprising result because the olfactory bulbs are the part of the brain known to process the electrical signals the brain receives from the nose. But women in this study who lack these bulbs (and, interestingly, most are left-handed) had a nearly normal sense of smell.
The neuroscientist leading the study explains,
The simplest interpretation of our findings is that these women were born without an olfactory bulb, but thanks to the extreme plasticity of the developing brain, they developed an alternative glomeruli map somewhere else in the brain not in the olfactory bulb . . . Although such plasticity is amazing, it is not out of the realm of what we have seen in human development.
For all the research conducted on the human brain, no one truly understands how it all functions.
This plasticity of the brain certainly isn’t the first example that we’ve seen. (Please check out this article from 2018 about a boy who was missing his visual cortex, the part of the brain that normally processes vision, and could still see.) God has designed our brains and our bodies in such a remarkable way that, even in this sin-cursed and broken world, they respond in ways we couldn’t have imagined. We truly are fearfully and wonderfully made!
And let’s face it. For all the research conducted on the human brain, no one truly understands how it all functions. Its complexity is beyond our understanding.
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This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.