Good Taste Operation Ouch!


Good Taste

Clips from Operation Ouch! We take a closer look at your tongue and how your taste buds work.


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Transcript


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Are you ready for our Ouch! Snips?

Snip!

Ouch!

Exactly!

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Well, it may look pretty hairy,

but it's actually from your tongue!

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Take a look at this.

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This is an MRI

scan of my tongue as I'm speaking,

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and you can see it's pretty huge.

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But speaking isn't the only thing

you need your tongue for.

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One of the best things it does

is help you taste.

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Your tongue is covered in small

hairlike projections,

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as I'm going to show you. Right,

Xand, open your mouth nice and wide.

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Eurgh! Not hair like that!

I said hairlike projections!

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You can't see them

with your naked eye.

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Take another look at this super

close-up of your tongue.

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This red blob is called the papilla.

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Your taste buds sit on the side

of it, and they contain tiny

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hairlike projections called

microvilli to help you taste.

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And if you look at your tongue, the

bumps you can see are the papillae.

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And the more papillae you

have on your tongue,

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the more taste buds you have and the

more sensitive to taste you are.

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And you have more of them than we

do.

Because we're doctors!

No, Xand!

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Because we're adults!

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We have around 5,000 covering

our tongues, but you have 10,000.

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That's twice as many.

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And to prove it, Chris,

I've brought in a sample.

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This sample is nine years old.

This isn't a sample. It's a child!

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Anyway, the point is, we're going to

compare Chris' papillae with

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the sample's, but first I need to

cover your tongues in blue food dye.

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The blue dye will show up all the

papillae.

And now, the sample.

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I have a name, you know, and it's

Hermione.

A very noisy sample!

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Give me your tongue!

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Nice blue tongue, Hermione!

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Xand is putting a glass

slide on both our tongues to make it

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easier to count the papillae.

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Chris' papillae are those little

pale dots right there.

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And these are Hermione's.

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You can see that there's way

more on her tongue,

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and that means more taste buds.

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Good job, Hermione!

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As we get older,

your taste buds deteriorate

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and they aren't replaced, which is

why you will be much more

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sensitive to strong flavours

like garlic than your mum or dad.

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There are certain things,

though, like a cold,

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that can play havoc with

everybody's sense of taste.

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But why would having a bunged-up

nose affect your taste?

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Well, we're going to show you.

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Xand, meet Mr Bigmouth.

Hello! Argh!

You've cut him in half!

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Now, when you eat food,

odour molecules are released

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and swirl around your mouth,

but also right up into this.

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This is the passage that

connects your mouth to your nose.

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And right up here,

at the back of your nose,

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are lots of sensors called olfactory

receptors, which sense and identify

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different odour or smell molecules

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and tell your brain what it is

you're tasting.

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So, to show you this, we're going to

use an equally oversized bit of kit.

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The smell molecule blower thingy.

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Also, we'll need our

safety equipment

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and these polystyrene balls

to represent

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those smell or odour molecules.

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Three, two, one... Blow!

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The smell molecules in food are

released naturally as you chew.

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Wow! That worked really well!

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You can see how the smell

molecules race through

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the back of the mouth and up

the tube connecting it to the nose

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and right onto the olfactory

receptors, which instantly

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recognise the smell and tell

your brain what you're tasting.

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And your olfactory receptors can

also protect you

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because they can tell if something

is bad before you eat it.

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As soon as they whiff

something like off milk,

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they alert your brain

so you know not to eat it.

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But, Xand, what would happen

if Mr Bigmouth got a cold?

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That would be disgusting!

We're going to need a lot of snot!

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We're smearing our snot inside

the passages of our giant mouth

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and nose,

just like when you have a cold.

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Let's see what happens now that

Mr Bigmouth has got a big cold.

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You ready?

BOTH:

Go!

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Look. This time, the odour molecules

are getting stuck in the snot.

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They aren't getting anywhere

near the olfactory receptors,

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and that means no taste.

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Yeah, Mr Bignose wouldn't be able to

taste anything at all.

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Except for that one tiny

polystyrene ball.

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So we've shown you that,

like Hermione's tongue,

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you've got twice the number

of taste buds as us,

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or your mum and dad, or any adult.

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But as good as your tongue is,

you also need your nose

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if you really want to savour

a flavour.

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SNEEZING

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See you next time! Bye!

Bye!

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Bye.

Bye.

Bye!

Bye.

Bye!

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