New Research Suggests That Scent Therapy Can Help People With Depression Recall Forgotten Memories By Triggering Feelings Of Happiness, Nostalgia, Or Even Fear

New Africa - - illustrative purposes only

Throughout evolution, the sense of smell has been critical for our survival. It helps with tracking down food, identifying dangers, and recognizing kin. As a result, our brains are highly sensitive to smells.

Due to their deep connections with the brain’s memory and emotion centers, smells can be very powerful. Since smells are often tied to specific events in our lives, they can evoke strong emotional reactions. A familiar scent can trigger memories and feelings of happiness, nostalgia, or even fear.

People with depression may have trouble remembering memories from certain periods of their lives. A new study has suggested that “scent therapy” can help people with depression recall those forgotten memories.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Network Open. Overall, 32 adults with major depressive disorder participated in the trial.

They were exposed to scents such as oranges, coffee grounds, cumin, lavender, whiskey, cough syrup, Vicks VapoRub, and shoe polish to prompt them to recall specific autobiographical memories.

Autobiographical memory refers to your memory of personal events that occurred throughout your life, like the first time you learned how to drive a car.

In the past, studies tried to use pictures and words were used as cues for the test subjects. In the new trial, scientists alternated between scents and words as cues to determine whether one was more effective at bringing autobiographical memories to the surface. They concluded that smell led the participants to recall more specific memories.

“The olfactory system is the only sensory system that has a direct, superhighway access to the memory centers of the brain and the emotional centers of the brain,” said Michael Leon, a professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California, Irvine. He was not one of the experts involved with the study.

When it comes to memory, people with depression tend to lump individual events into broad categories.

New Africa – – illustrative purposes only

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