Overnight Aromatherapy Boosts Memory 266% in New Study
September 29, 2023
I just read a fascinating article on aromatherapy in SciTechDaily that gives anyone struggling with memory loss a unique, new approach to improve brain power.
While aromatherapy is a field I know little about, it has been gaining some mainstream scientific relevance. For instance, several major companies in Japan, including Sony, Panasonic, and UFJ Bank, have reported piping aromas like rosemary, lavender, or citrus into workspaces to reduce stress and fatigue and improve mood and cognition in employees. This article presents an interesting study investigating the effects of overnight olfactory enrichment on memory and brain structure in older adults.
The key findings are:
1. Older adults exposed to different pleasant scents overnight for 6 months showed significantly improved verbal learning and memory on the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test compared to controls.
2. Olfactory-enriched older adults also showed increased mean diffusivity in the left uncinate fasciculus compared to controls, suggesting changes in this white matter tract connecting memory-related brain regions.
3. No significant differences between groups in other cognitive tests or olfactory abilities were found.
4. The results suggest minimal olfactory enrichment delivered through a diffuser at night may improve verbal memory and induce structural changes in relevant brain pathways in older adults.
The study is well-designed with randomized assignment to olfactory enrichment or control groups. Using an odor diffuser at night is a novel, passive way to deliver enrichment with the potential for good compliance. Including neuroimaging and cognitive testing allows linking memory improvements to underlying brain changes.
Overall, this intriguing pilot study warrants further research in larger trials to verify the cognitive benefits of simple overnight olfactory enrichment for older adults. Longer intervention periods could determine if more robust changes occur.
This approach has the potential to be an inexpensive, effortless therapy to maintain memory abilities in aging. So go ahead. Stop and smell the roses. It just might make your memory better!
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