The Nose: Katie F, Lauren, Talisa, Eman, Anna

  • Not only does the nose allow you to smell, it is also largely responsible for why you are able to taste things; as well, it is the main opening to your respiratory system
  • Parts of the nose include: the nostrils and the nasal passages, which are separated by the septum (a wall, close to your skull, made up of thin pieces of bone); cartilage (material that is firmer than skin or muscle, but still quite flexible); and the nasal cavity (a space behind your nose, in the middle of your face that connects with the back of your throat and is separated from your mouth by the palate)
  • Your nose allows for both inhalation and exhalation
  • When inhaling, air enters the nasal passages, travels into the nasal cavity, down the back of your throat into the trachea (windpipe) and into the lungs; exhaling is the process in reverse
  • The nose is also required to warm, moisten, and filter air before it progresses towards the lungs
  • To warm up and moisten the air that is inhaled, a mucous membrane (a moist, thin layer of tissue) lines the inside of the nose and produces mucus; although gross, mucus traps germs, dust, and small particles that would otherwise irritate your lungs.
  • The hair that is inside the nose traps larger particles such as dirt and pollen
  • Sneezing occurs when your body wants to get rid of these unwelcome particles; they can be spent speeding out of your nose at approximately 100 mph with a single sneeze
  • There are microscopic hairs that exist farther back in the nose and air passages called cilia; cilia move back and forth to carry mucus away from the sinuses, back of the throat, and out of the lungs
  • The olfactory epithelium, located on the roof of the nasal cavity contains special receptors that are sensitive to odour molecules travelling through the air we breathe in
  • There are at least 10 million infinitesimal receptors in your nose and hundreds of different kinds to detect certain odours and odour molecules; the brain is responsible for interpreting a combination of receptors to distinguish one from about 10,000 other smells
  • The olfactory bulb, underneath the front of your brain (see diagram), receives signals that travel along the olfactory nerve when smell receptors are stimulated; in turn, these signals travel to other parts of the brain to be interpreted into a recognizable smell
  • The process of identifying smells is the way the brain tells you about your environment (e.g. burning toast; your nose interprets the smell and you know you need to check on your toast)
  • Taste is very closely linked to smell; it’s extremely difficult to fully experience taste without help from the nose


Clinical Anatomy of the Nose, Nasal Cavity, and Paranasal Sinuses, Johannes Lang

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