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Science

A dog's sense of smell is so strong it's like having a second set of eyes, study says

They can even detect the adrenaline we secrete when we are scared or anxious.

A dog's sense of smell is so strong it's like having a second set of eyes, study says
Photo by Camilo Fierro on Unsplash
two white and brown dogs

We know that dogs have highly sensitive noses. Anyone who’s tried to hide a peanut butter snack deep in the bottom of a backpack has found this out the hard way. But a new study suggests that dogs not only use their powerful snouts to smell, they also use them to see the world.

The study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, revealed that vision and smell are linked in the neural pathways found in a dog’s brain. This is a trait not currently found in any other species in the world. If you need any further proof that dogs are special, here it is.

A team of veterinary and biology researchers performed MRI scans of a variety of canines and mapped an “extensive network,” starting from the olfactory bulb (the part of the brain that deals with smells) and forming connections with multiple cortices of the dog’s brain. That included the occipital lobe (the area of the brain that processes vision), but also the corticospinal tract and limbic system.

Basically, how a doggo sees, moves, feels … it’s all connected to smell. Yes, they really are just adorable walking noses.


This enhanced network explains why a blind dog might still be able to successfully play fetch, veterinary expert and one of the researchers on the study Dr. Philippa Johnson told Sky News.

dog smell study

Dog science is the best science.

Photo by Agatha on Unsplash

She used the example that where humans tend to walk into a room and rely heavily on vision to interpret their environment, blind dogs “can orientate around their environment, and they don’t bump into things.” This can be especially comforting for those who own dogs with incurable eye disease, Johnson noted.

Considering that a dog’s nose has up to 300 million olfactory receptors (compared to the mere six million we humans have), it's understandable that smell would play such a large role in a dog’s everyday experience. With just one inhale, they can detect bombs, recognize a long lost friend and find their way back home.

dog nose study

Hey you, why the long face?

Photo by Undine Tackmann on Unsplash

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, they can even detect the adrenaline we secrete when we are scared or anxious. That talent alone makes them very empathetic companions.

The study’s findings mark only the beginning of exploration. Johnson and her team plan to study other animals who rely heavily on their sense of smell. Included in that research lineup are horses, whose heads are “predominantly a nasal organ,” and cats, who “have the most amazing olfactory system too, and probably more connections than the dog,” according to Johnson.

Meanwhile, we can all bask in yet another reason to love dogs. Suddenly all that nonstop sniffing makes sense.

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Three women, three MS journeys: How multiple sclerosis looks different for everyone

Gina, Nathalie and Helga share their reactions to being diagnosed with MS and how they stay informed and positive in the face of ever-changing symptoms.

Courtesy of Sanofi

Helga, Nathalie and Gina all have MS, and their experiences show how differently the disease can manifest.

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It’s been 155 years since neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot gave the first lecture on a mysterious progressive illness he called “multiple sclerosis.” Since then, we’ve learned a lot. We know MS causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue, including damaging the brain and spinal cord. Resulting symptoms can be debilitating and include fatigue, blurred vision, memory problems and weakness. Huge advancements in our understanding of MS and its underlying causes, as well as treatment advances, have been made in the past few decades, but MS remains a complex and unpredictable reality for the 2.8 million+ people diagnosed around the world.

Ironically, the only real constant for people living with MS is change. There’s no set pattern or standard progression of the disease, so each person’s experience is unique. Some people with MS have mild symptoms that worsen slowly but sometimes improve, while others can have severe symptoms that drastically alter their daily lives.

All people with MS share some things in common, however, such as the need to stay informed on the ever-evolving research, find various lines of support and try to remain hopeful as they continue living with the disease.

To better understand what navigating life with MS really looks like, three women shared their MS stories with us. Their journeys demonstrate how MS can look different for different people and interestingly, how the language used to talk about the disease can greatly impact how people understand their realities.

woman with horse, woman riding horseGina loves riding her horse, Benita.Courtesy of Sanofi

Gina—Hamburg, Germany (diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis in 2017)

When her youngest son was 4 months old, Gina started having problems with her eye. She’d soon learn she was experiencing optic neuritis—her first symptom of MS.

“Immediately after the diagnosis, I looked up facts on MS because I didn’t know anything about it,” Gina says. “And as soon as I knew what could really happen with this disease, I actually got scared.”

As her family’s primary income provider, she worried about how MS would impact her ability to work as a writer and editor. Her family was afraid she was going to end up in a wheelchair. However, for now, Gina’s MS is managed well enough that she still works full-time and is able to be active.

“When I tell somebody that I have MS, they often don't believe me the first time because I don't fulfill any stereotypes,” she says.

Overwhelmed by negative perspectives on living with MS, Gina sought support in the online MS community, which she found to be much more positive.

“I think it’s important to use as many positive words as you can when talking about MS.” It’s important to be realistic while also conveying hope, she says. “MS is an insidious disease that can cause many bad symptoms…that can be frightening, and you can't gloss over it, either.”

To give back to the online community that helped her so much, Gina started a blog to share her story and help others trying to learn about their diagnosis.

Though she deals with fatigue and cognitive dysfunction sometimes, Gina stays active swimming, biking, riding horses and playing with her sons, who are now 11 and 6.

Cognitive dysfunction is common in MS, with over half of people affected. It can impact memory, attention, planning, and word-finding. As with many aspects of MS, some people experience mild changes, while others face more challenges.

Gina says that while there’s still a lot of education about MS needed, she feels positive about the future of MS because there’s so much research being done.

woman in wheelchair holding medal, woman rowingNathalie is an award-winning rower with multiple international titles.Courtesy of Sanofi

Nathalie — Pennes Mirabeau, France (diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in 2002)

Nathalie was a teenager and a competitive athlete when she noticed her first symptoms of MS, but it would take four years of “limbo” before she was diagnosed.

“Ultimately, the diagnosis was more of a relief, than a shock,” she says. “Because when you have signs and you don’t know why, it’s worse than knowing, in the end, what you have.”

However, learning more about the disease—and the realities of disease progression—scared her.

“That glimpse of the future was direct and traumatic,” she says. Her neurologist explained that the disease evolves differently for everyone, and her situation might end up being serious or very mild. So, she decided to stop comparing herself to others with MS.

She said to herself, “We’ll see what happens, and you’ll manage it bit by bit.”

By 2005, Nathalie’s MS had progressed to the point of needing a wheelchair. However, that has not dampened her competitive spirit.

Nathalie began her international rowing career in 2009 and has won multiple world titles, including two Paralympic medals—silver in London and bronze in Tokyo. Now, at 42, she still trains 11 times a week. Fatigue can be a problem, and sometimes hard workouts leave her with muscle stiffness and shaking, but she credits her ongoing sports career for helping her feel in tune with her body’s signals.

“Over the years, I’ve learned to listen to my body, letting my body guide when I need to stop and take breaks,” she says.

Nathalie explains that she used to only look backwards because of the initial shock of her diagnosis. In time, she stopped thinking about what she couldn’t do anymore and focused on her future. She now lives in the following mindset: “Even when doors close, don’t miss out on those that open.” Instead of focusing on what she can’t do, she focuses on the opportunities she still has. Right now, this includes her training for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, where she will compete for another rowing medal.

“I only go forward,” she says. “Well, I try, anyway…It’s easy to say, it’s not always easy to do. But that’s what I try to do.”

woman exiting water after swimming, woman with great daneHelga's Great Dane has become a helpful and beloved companion.Courtesy of Sanofi

Helga—Johannesburg, South Africa (diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis in 2010)

When Helga first started having balance issues and numbness in her feet, she chalked it up to her training as a runner. But when the numbness moved to her face, she knew something was wrong. She never guessed it was MS.

“When I was diagnosed, I felt completely overwhelmed and clueless,” Helga says. “I felt that I had nowhere near enough information. I did not know anything about the disease…I had no idea that it was going to be a process of continually monitoring and adjusting your lifestyle.”

In the beginning, Helga’s symptoms developed slowly, and she didn’t appear ill to others. She was even able to run for a few years after her diagnosis, but she couldn’t do marathons anymore, and she began to fall frequently due to balance issues and right-foot dragging. Then her cognition issues became more problematic, especially in her job as a trainer in a printing company.

“My executive function, decision-making and short-term memory were affected to the point that I was eventually medically unfit for work,” she says. She stopped working in 2017.

However, she didn’t stop living life. Even though she could no longer run, she continued to swim competitively. She got a Great Dane puppy and trained him as a service dog to help her walk. She also serves as vice chair of the patient support organization Multiple Sclerosis South Africa, and she advises others who have been diagnosed to join a patient advocacy group as soon as possible to get reliable information and meet others with MS.

Helga says she is “hopeful” about the future of MS. “I must say that I am so grateful that we have all the new medications available, because my life would not be the same if it wasn't for that,” she adds.

Part of how she manages her MS is by looking at the positives.

“If I could tell the world one thing about MS, it would be that MS is an incurable disease of the nervous system, but it's also the greatest teacher of valuing your health, family, friends, and managing change in your life,” she says. “My life is diversified in a way that I never, ever thought it would, and MS has been honestly the greatest teacher.”

Each MS journey is unique – with each person impacted experiencing different struggles, successes, and feelings as they manage this unpredictable disease. But the common thread is clear – there is a critical need for information, support, and hope. We are proud to participate in World MS Day and share these incredible stories of living life while living with MS. To learn more about MS, go to https://www.sanofi.com/why-words-really-matter-when-it-comes-to-multiple-sclerosis.

MAT-GLB-2301642-v1.0-05/2023

This article was sponsored by Sanofi. Participants were compensated when applicable.

We get to see the world through Mr. Kitters' eyes.

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a cat? To watch the world from less than a foot off the ground, seeing and hearing things humans completely miss, staring out the window for hours while contemplating one of your nine lives?

Well, thanks to one person, we need wonder no more—at least about what-they're-seeing part.

The TikTok channel Mr. Kitters the Cat (@mr.kitters.the.cat) gives us a cat's-eye view of the world with a camera attached to Mr. Kitters' collar. And the result is an utterly delightful POV experience that takes us through the daily adventuring of the frisky feline as he wanders the yard.

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Correctional officer cares for inmate's baby until her release.

Having a baby can be stressful under normal circumstances, but having to prepare for a baby while incarcerated has to feel nearly impossible. For an inmate in Louisiana who was pregnant and in prison for a minor crime with a short sentence, options were nonexistent.

Katie Bourgeois, who is currently serving time at Louisiana Transitional Center for Women in Tallulah, Louisiana, found herself desperate for help as her due date quickly approached in May. She is due to be released in July.

The new mom didn't have any family to take her new baby, and she worried that if she didn't find a caregiver, the infant would go into foster care. That's when Roberta Bell, a correctional officer at the facility, helped to ease her worries. Bell worked at the facility for over three years and enjoyed her job helping women. But when Bourgeois was trying to find a temporary caregiver for her unborn child, it was a running joke among staff that Bell was going to take the baby—until it wasn't.

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Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.


This article originally appeared on 06.30.22

Pop Culture

Bon appetit! Totally common kids' dinners from the 90s you haven't thought about in ages

Long before the days of flashy food trends on TikTok, we feasted on Shake n' Bake pork chops.

Canva

Burnt Tuna Helper was even better than the regular version.

The 90s aesthetic might be finding its way back into being fashionable, but certain gems from the era remain only in memories. The food, for instance, probably won’t be trending on TikTok anytime soon, as it is nowhere near as fancy as whipped coffee and watermelon pizza.

In fact, for many 90s kids, certain childhood staples might be hidden deep in the recesses of their memory, because, let’s face it, our taste buds—and our collective views on food—have advanced far beyond the comforts of yesteryear.

Still, Redditor u/kammikazzie asked 90's kids to share common dinners they had growing up that aren’t so common anymore, and it’s hard not to feel wistful about the answers. Sure, the meals were basic as hell, but there was a simple charm to it all. They were easy enough to make that any parent could provide something tasty without being Gordon Ramsey. In fact, you might find your inner child having some nostalgic cravings after reading this list.

Go ahead, sample from the memory buffet and sink your teeth into these dinners only a 90s mother could love.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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Bri James and her messy (not dirty) home.

It’s hard to keep your home clean when you have a child, but when you have four, unless you have a live-in maid, it’s completely impossible. There is no dishwasher fast enough to keep up with the dishes in the sink and no magical point where all four children have it together enough to put their toys away.

The problem is that if you take your eyes off the prize and let a day go by without cleaning up, you’re practically drowning in chaos.

TikTok user and stay-at-home mom Bri James (aka @themessymama4) did the unthinkable and let her home go four days without tidying up and shared the incredible mess with everyone on TikTok.


"I know I'm going to get roasted," she says in the clip, "but ... this is what happens when two really lazy adults have four kids and don't clean up after themselves."

The clip shows cutlery on the floor, empty packets everywhere, dishes piled a mile-high in the sink, and clothes and toys strewn everywhere. The house looks like the parents went away on a permanent vacation and left their kids to fend for themselves.

The video was praised by a lot of parents who are tired of seeing mommy influencers with spotless homes and children in matching linen outfits. Finally, there was a mom on TikTok they could relate to.

"I'd MUCH rather see you clean your realistic house than watch another blonde clean an already clean countertop," Meghan Sanders wrote.

TikTokker Its_not_that_serious put things in perfect perspective. "Dude, at the end of the day all of their fingers and toes are attached and feeling safe and loved you’re doing fine. Someday the house will be clean," they wrote.

"Having children is mentally and physically exhausting and you don’t always have the energy to clean every day," Rose added.

But not everyone appreciated Bri's slice of reality. Some people thought that her messiness was borderline neglectful and that she was setting a terrible example for her children.

"Set a good example for your kids. Make them help," carleebocciaa wrote.

"Without children = fine, your choice. With children (especially small ones) = completely unacceptable," ACZOgirly wrote.

Shortly after posting her first video, Bri got to work on the impossible task of cleaning up the entire house. Noticeably absent from the job were her spouse and four children. She appears to clean the entire place by herself.

She showed her cleaning prowess through a series of fast-motion videos.

@themessymama4

my butt does not look flattering in these Walmart lounge pants 🤦🏼‍♀️😅

Finally, at 9:30 p.m., Bri was done with most of the job, although she still had a bit of vacuuming to do and there were still some dishes in the sink. At the end of the job, she was exhausted. But she got the job done and that’s all that matters. It’s OK to let your house fall into disarray from time to time but eventually, you have to take care of business.

@themessymama4

I'm going to bed now. 🤣🥱😴

We’ll give TikTokker Sannon Martin the final word on this story because she hits the nail on the head. “Your home is exactly like mine,” she wrote. “Some days it’s a wreck and some days it looks amazing. That’s life. You’re doing great!”


This article originally appeared on 03.05.22