The Nose Knows Left From Right

Each nostril, it turns out, detects different smells

Few of us are ever aware of it, but one nostril is always pulling in a tiny bit more air than the other, the result of minute swelling in the nasal lining that switches from one side to the other every few hours. The phenomenon has seemed to be little more than an anatomical curiosity.

But a team of researchers based in the U.S. and Israel has shown otherwise. From animal studies, the scientists knew that some odors are detected more easily when they're flowing past nasal tissue quickly, and others when they're moving slowly. So the researchers tested human subjects...

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