Odor, Perceptual Impairment | Researchers made new discoveries: – are directly connected to the brain’s memory circuits

Odor, Perceptual Impairment |  Researchers made new discoveries: – are directly connected to the brain’s memory circuits

A new study by the University of California (UCI) shows that simple aromatherapy can have a very significant effect on the brain’s ability to remember — a whopping 226 percent improvement after six months, compared to the control group.

The survey was supported by multinational corporation Procter & Gamble. It is expected that the study will lead to a product that can enable individuals to perform olfactory therapy at home, and that the product will hit the market in the early fall.

This is how it was implemented

The survey was conducted among the elderly, aged between 60 and 85 years. The test subjects were divided into two groups: a group that was exposed to the odor, and a control group that was not exposed to the odor. Before the six-month aromatherapy treatment, the participants took a standard memory test.

For six months, the researchers stimulated the test group’s sense of smell by stimulating fragrance in the bedroom for two hours each night. The result was, on average, a 226 percent increase in the memory capacity of the test group, compared to the control group. Imaging also showed better function in the pathway connecting the medial temporal lobe (which is central to olfactory function) and the frontal lobe, where executive functions are located. This pathway deteriorates over the years, but it can improve with olfactory therapy.

The survey is now being submitted at Frontiers in neuroscience/informed daily. With this in mind, researchers have found a simple way to boost memory and slow the progression of dementia.

From 2012: The sense of smell has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease

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Smell and memory

Researchers have long known that the sense of smell is linked to brain function. Loss of the sense of smell can predict nearly 70 neurological and psychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other types of dementia.

– The truth is that after 60 years, the sense of smell and perception begin to fall like a stone, says Michael Lyon, professor of neuroscience and behavior.

The sense of smell is directly linked to the brain’s memory circuits, while all other senses are directed through the thalamus, say Professor Michael Yasa and James L. McGough, chair of neurobiology of learning and memory at UCI, both of whom have been active in the investigation.

Everyone has experienced how powerful scents are to evoke memories, even a very long time ago. But unlike the vision changes we treat with glasses and hearing aids for hearing loss, there was no intervention for loss of smell, they say.

Also read: Scientists have revealed a secret behind aging

Based on previous studies

Previous research found that exposing people with mild dementia to up to 40 different scents twice a day over a period of time boosted their memory and language skills, relieved depression and improved their sense of smell.

The UCI researchers wanted to develop this knowledge into a tool that could work in practice.

– It’s not realistic to think that people with a cognitive disability can open, smell and close 80 bottles of perfume a day. Prof Lyon says it will be challenging even for those without dementia.

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Instead, the researchers developed a method that individuals can also implement.

We reduced the number of odors to just seven, and exposed participants to just one scent at a time, instead of the many scents that had been used simultaneously in previous research projects. By enabling people to experience scents while they sleep, we’ve eliminated the need to make time for this during waking hours each day, project researcher Cynthia Wu, the study’s first author, tells Science Daily.

The research team at UCI now wants to study how this technology affects people diagnosed with cognitive loss. They also hope that more people will investigate how olfactory therapy can improve memory.

You can read the survey here.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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