About this Research Topic
The olfactory areas, among the brain structures, were the first to develop in primitive animals, and much of the brain developed around this original olfactory core. In fact, a part of the brain that originally served olfactory functions later evolved into the basal pathways that control emotions and the memory system, and other aspects of behavior, localized in the limbic system. In some species, there still are functional transpositions, where the sense of smell has been replaced by brain functions related to spatial localization, cognitive maps, and aspects of social dominance.
The sense of smell, being the sensory modality mainly involved in real-time perception of the chemical composition of the external environment, plays a critical role in various aspects of life in living organisms, from invertebrates to vertebrates, including humans. Interestingly, recent studies have shown that the olfactory system can also be considered an active sensor of signals from the internal environment (hormones and nutrients), therefore capable of simultaneously gathering and processing information from the internal and external environment.
In this Research Topic, we aim to invite researchers who study the olfactory system at different levels, including a comparative, evolutionary, and neuro-olfactometry perspective: from marine organisms, insects, vertebrates, mammals, up to humans.
We ask to develop aspects related to the interaction of odors with the olfactory receptors, to the transduction of the olfactory signal, integration of olfactory information at a central level, to sensation, perception, emotion, and olfactory cognition, to the common pathways between olfaction and memory, to behavioral responses, to the genetic-physiological-environmental-social-psychological factors that can modulate the olfactory perception, to the connection between stress and smell, to the relationship between smell and eating disorders, metabolic disorders, to olfactory biomarkers in neurodegenerative diseases, depression, and anxiety, to the various anosmic syndromes related to head injuries and various other pathologies.
Keywords: Olfactory Perception, Olfactory Development, Olfactory Evolution, Comparative Olfactometry, Olfactory Cognition, Olfactory Physiology
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