Scientists have been experimenting with a number of fascinating new technologies, including a sweet fragrance that, when smelled, can improve and repair memory in human beings. This news comes courtesy of Science Daily, which reports data gathered from trials that wafted the scent through bedrooms of older adults over the course of several months, increasing cognitive capabilities.
Olfactory research has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, and now research has found how a specific smell can improve memory.
This discovery could have massive implications for adults likely to develop dementia, providing non-invasive techniques for strengthening memory. The smell memory study reported a whopping 226 percent increase in cognitive capacity in participants, reflecting incredibly positive results.
The project, which Procter and Gamble supported, was conducted by the UCI Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory, utilizing small amounts of oil cartridges. It has long been a social scientific theory that smell can impact memory due to the deep resonant emotions associated with scents such as food and certain location. Some companies have even produced a business model by selling candles with scents that evoke memories of a specific location for homesick travelers who have moved out of their native state or country.
The sensation has even been referenced in the hit AMC series Breaking Bad, in which the series’ main character, Walter White, explains how olfactory sensors connect to the emotional center of the brain, the hippocampus, to his business partner, Gustavo Fring. The smell memory study implemented the oils through diffusers over a period of 2 hours as the participants slept, resulting in strengthened memory and, incidentally, better and more sound sleep.
Furthermore, new evidence that links smell loss due to complications from COVID-19 with memory issues and cognitive decline seems to emerge. As researchers continue to study the long-term effects of the novel coronavirus, these connections between sense of smell and memory seem to only be growing stronger.
The smell memory study implemented the oils through diffusers over a period of 2 hours as the participants slept, resulting in strengthened memory and, incidentally, better and more sound sleep.
Researchers have already concluded from previous studies that exposing patients with moderate signs of dementia to myriad smells throughout the day can boost memory and language skills and ease depression, meaning scent may have an even larger role to play in the human psyche than we previously believed. For the average person, this may suggest that basic activities such as cooking, cleaning, and going on walks outdoors can boost receptors within the brain by exposing your nose to more odors throughout the day.
While the study doesn’t dive into which smells have the best impact on memory, we can expect a great deal of additional information from further studies conducted on the subject, leading us ever closer to a non-invasive treatment or even a cure for dementia and Alzheimers.
As researchers explained, the average person’s sense of smell begins to significantly wear down after the age of 60. With other senses, we have developed a number of devices to assist with aged declines, such as eyeglasses or hearing aids, though no common functions have been offered to the public to inhibit smell receptors.
A smell that can improve memory will hopefully offer a potential treatment for Alzheimers.
Scientists conducting these studies are looking to change that; as more information about what scents benefit cognitive function, we could soon see a line of medicinal smells rolling out in drug stores nationwide. For now, the research connecting smell and memory seems incredibly sound, hopefully meaning greater funds and resources will be developed in this field in the near future.