The science of synesthesia and super sensors
Joy Milne, a Scottish nurse, met her husband Les in high school.Nearly 15 years after they met, Joy smelled something different about Les. The scent wouldn’t go away, and a decade later, Les was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. It turned out, Joy’s nose was detecting the disease, long before doctors could.
Joy’s hyperosmia, or super-smelling ability, helped develop a non-invasive swab test for Parkinson’s. She’s one of many stories recounted in the new book, “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: The Astonishing New Science of the Senses.” Author Maureen Seaberg is a super sensor too. She has synesthesia and is a tetrachromat, meaning her eyes distinguish more colors than average.
Why do some of us have superior senses? And how can we all harness that power?
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