Monday, July 23, 2012

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

Other than being movie stars, what do Tilda Swinton and Mark Wahlberg have in common?

What’s that you say? Fragrance promotion? Well, you’re WRONG!

Swinton did lend her name and image to Like This, by Etat Libre d’Orange. And back in the day Marky Mark appeared in Calvin Klein commercials for . . . underwear, not cK ONE. (Sorry, Sanja Pekic.)

Care to guess again? Who said “third nipple”? Yes, we have a WINNER!

[Google the pix yourself, this is a family blog—Ed.]

We’re obsessing on supernumerary body parts because we just found a bizarre new paper by Robert Henkin at Washington, DC’s Taste and Smell Clinic, and some folks at GWU Med School. They took orbitofrontal brain MRIs from 220 consecutive patients in order to measure the size of the olfactory bulbs. Remarkably, they found that 11 patients had duplicated OBs, and one even had them in triplicate.


Does doubling your bulbs double your smell? Apparently not. One patient with an extra set was a congenital hyposmic. And bulb diameter was smaller in people with extra sets.

Still, we imagine being double-bulbed would make a great conversation starter. Or an interesting character for the new Bond film, The Man with the Golden Nose.
“The problem is, 007, we have no picture of her.”

“A pity.”

“All we know for sure is that she has a certain remarkable physical endowment.”

Bond leaned forward. “And that would be . . .”

“Her olfactory bulbs. She has two sets of them.”

Bond looked blankly at Q, then reached for his trilby. “That’s very helpful, sir.”

“I thought so, too. You’re booked on the 6:00 p.m. flight to Zürich. Miss Moneypenny has your ticket.”

The old man was already relighting his pipe as Bond closed the second door.

“What are you staring at, James?” said Moneypenny from behind the typewriter.

“Have I ever mentioned that you have the most well-developed olfactory lobes?”

“I’m sure you say that to all the girls, James. Here’s your ticket. Now be on your way.”

The study discussed here is “Morphological changes of olfactory bulbs and grooves: initial report of supernumerary olfactory bulbs,” by Lucian M. Levy, Andrew J. Degnan, Salil Sharma, Linda Kelahan, Robert I. Henkin, published in the Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography, 36:406-409, 2012.

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