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Understanding Pheromone Signals

In 1991 plastic surgeon Dr. JosÚ Garcia-Velasco, working with his colleague Manuel Mondragon in the department of reconstructive surgery at the University of Mexico School of Medicine in Mexico City, ...

In 1991 plastic surgeon Dr. JosÚ Garcia-Velasco, working with his colleague Manuel Mondragon in the department of reconstructive surgery at the University of Mexico School of Medicine in Mexico City, looked for the VNO in 1,000 rhinoplasty patients (579 women and 421 men). He found what he was looking for by probing gently with a nasal speculum inserted into the patients’ noses and peering inside their nasal cavities with the assistance of a headlamp or, if needed, a special fiber-optic device that added magnification.

Garcia-Velasco located a symmetrical pair of VNOs in all but 192 of his patients. Of those 192, 125 had septal pathologies—twisted and distorted nasal septums that obscured the organ.

The scientist corrected the pheromone deviations and looked again. This time, he could clearly see the VNO in 102 of the 125 people who had had the corrective surgery. Garcia—Velasco and Mondragon also discovered that the VNO is similar in appearance and frequency in men and women. Learn more atá

Impressed with their findings, they began to worry that patients undergoing nasal surgery might be losing their VNOs simply be- cause their surgeons are not aware of either the organ’s existence or its importance. They wrote: “These findings, together with data from other electron microscopic and neurophysiological studies, should be taken into consideration because of possible problems that might result by performing surgical alterations on the nose without preserving the VNO.

“Thus, we need to start thinking about preserving the VNO in any nasal operation, especially in the surgical correction of the twisted nose associated with severe septal deviation.”

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people undergo nasal surgery, either to correct a health problem or to improve their appearance. The hope is that Garcia-Velasco’s warning will be heeded by plastic surgeons and that many VNOs will be saved as a result.

More Food for Thought

We know that pheromones help us to make decisions about the people in our lives. However subconsciously we may process those chemical messages, they are important to us nonetheless. But, what happens to us when we go about our business without the one—on-one communication that facilitates the workings of the sixth sense? Here are a few scenarios for you to think about: Many Americans work from their homes. Are people who work alone, away from their “tribe,” subject to pheromone deprivation? Would they be better off working in offices, where . pheromones oat up and down the corridors and into conference rooms? Is our fascination with the Internet and communicating via computerized chats and e-mail putting us at risk of extreme sensory deprivation, especially where the sixth sense is concerned? Is our technology-obsessed culture isolating us from our own humanity? Fax machines allow us to send and receive information without leaving our offices or homes. We can rent movies instead of going to theaters packed with people. And, of course, telephones give us instant communication capabilities but do not allow us to use the priceless gift of being able to talk with our sixth sense.

Most of us own automobiles and shy away from using public transportation. If we continually encapsulate ourselves in the confines of our own spaces, how can we get to know our fellow humans through the sixth sense—activating power of pheromones? Does taking a bus or train to work give us something important that we aren’t even aware of?

Distance learning, in which students receive instruction via videotapes, television, or the Internet, could have some real drawbacks. When students of any age sit together in a class- roomFree Reprint Articles, they are surrounded by their own pheromones and those of their classmates. Is there a negative impact to learning at home in relative isolation because of the lack of chemical communication with other people?

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Mark Alexander is a blogger who enjoys pheromones.

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