Memory loss is a big deal, especially among seniors. It doesn’t just hit those going through it but touches their families and the wider community too. Tackling this decline in brain function is high on the list for many scientists.
Over at the University of California, Irvine, some brainy folks got curious about a not-so-typical solution: the power of scent. They dug deep to see if certain whiffs, mainly from essential oils, might boost the memory game for older folks.
What They Were Aiming For
The team wanted to know if oils like lavender, rose, orange, eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, and rosemary had any mojo when it came to sharpening the minds of the elderly. So, they set up a cool experiment to test these fragrances out.
They rounded up 43 people between 60 and 85 and split them into two groups. One group got the full-on scent experience with powerful essential oil cartridges. In contrast, the other group got a diluted version.
Every night, they’d pop a new cartridge into a diffuser, letting it do its thing for a couple of hours while they slept. They stuck to this ritual for half a year.
- Lavender: Known for its calming properties.
- Rose: Often associated with relaxation.
- Orange: Recognized for its uplifting effect.
- Eucalyptus: Used for its refreshing quality.
- Lemon: Chosen for its invigorating nature.
- Peppermint: Known to stimulate the senses.
- Rosemary: Believed to enhance concentration.
After a half-year of diving into these scents every night, the researchers got down to business and checked out the data. They wanted to see if these smells did any magic for the participants’ brain game. The most exciting bit? The group that got the heavy dose of the essential oils showed some cool improvements.
In this group, people got better scores on brain tests. They even rocked tasks like remembering a list of words. These improvements weren’t just flukes — the tests proved they were legit.
But the group that got just a hint of the oils? Not much changed for them.
The researchers also noticed something else: some smells seemed to make a bigger difference than others in specific tasks. This hints that there’s more to the whole scent-brain relationship than we might think.
From this study, it seems like using certain essential oils might give a nice little boost to memory and thinking skills in older folks.
Wrapping it Up
We all know that some smells can chill us out or make us happy. But here’s a twist: this research suggests they might also play a part in keeping our brains sharp. By using oils like lavender, rose, and lemon, the team noticed some memory upsides for the older crowd.
This research is like a teaser, making us curious about easy ways to keep our brains in top shape. It’s like a sneak peek into how our nose might team up with our brain and memory, especially as we grow older.
Lefroy, E. (2023, August 8). These three scents could boost memory, deter dementia — in your sleep. New York Post. Retrieved from https://nypost.com/2023/08/08/these-three-scents-could-boost-memory-deter-dementia/
Woo, C. C., Miranda, B., Sathishkumar, M., Dehkordi-Vakil, F., Yassa, M. A., & Leon, M. (2023). Overnight olfactory enrichment using an odorant diffuser improves memory and modifies the uncinate fasciculus in older adults. Frontiers in Neuroscience. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2023.1200448/full