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Smells Get Etched in the Brain
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jvkohl
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Post: #1
Smells Get Etched in the Brain
11-05-2009 11:41 PM

"...revealed a unique activation in particular brain regions in the case of their first olfactory (but not auditory) associations. That signature held regardless of whether the odors or sounds were pleasant or unpleasant."

http://www.physorg.com/news176649240.html


James V. Kohl
http://www.pheromones.com
11-05-2009 11:41 PM
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Xiphoid
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Post: #2
RE: Smells Get Etched in the Brain
11-07-2009 10:55 AM

This doesn't really surprise me. It's not news that smells and memory are linked, but I like the fact that they are now getting some interesting research done on the subject. I wouldn't be surprised if those activations are strong enough to spark memories even under conditions where those memories have been lost such as with various types of dementia.

I've already shared the following on the LP forum but I thought I'd add it here as well as it to me illustrates really beautifully how strong the association between smell and memories can be....

" I just wanted to share this moment of someting that happend to me at work the other day.

I was supposed to meet up with a colleauge for lunch but he never showed so I headed down to A&E to see what was holding him up. When I get there there's an elderly man who had been brought in by his son as he was very poorly. This elderly man was very confused (had no idea where he was), partly due to being septic but he probably also had underlying dementia. He was so very frail and weak from age & being poorly, but since he was also very confused and terrified he was putting up an impressive fight with the staff who were desperately trying to find IV access to give him fluids & antibiotics.

I approach my colleauge to ask him what the commotion was all about and if I could maybe run & get him a sandwich as it looked like he'd be unlikely to be going to lunch that day. I walk up to the patients bed to talk to my colleauge and almost instantaneously the elderly man stopped fighting the nurses. He looks up at me, grabs my hand, pulls it close to his face. Then he curls up on his side my hand still next to his face, and start stroking his face like a child would do with a comfort blankie. Everyone just stops what they are doing and stares at me & the little old man like they can't believe what they are seeing... I wasn't quite sure what to do so I look at my colleauge and shrug my shoulders, and nod towards the IV line which is quickly put in place without the elderly man protesting at all.

Now, I would absolutely love to take credit for this, and tell you this is all due to me being so good at what I do & having a comforting personality that just radiates empathy and understanding....but I can't. This poorly elderly man was comforted (and subsequently successfully treated for his infection) not because of me, but because I wore my Le Fleur Cremeuse that day. No magical calming phero's, just my Le Fleur Cremeuse.

Why do I say that? Well, when I turned around not knowing quite how to respond to the old man stroking my hand against his cheek I see his son standing there. A bit embarrassed I say to him that confusion can make people do strange things sometimes. The son looks at me, with teary eyes and then says the following; "No, he's not being strange, he's remembering...he thinks you're his wife...mum always smelled of roses"
11-07-2009 10:55 AM
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jvkohl
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Post: #3
RE: Smells Get Etched in the Brain
11-07-2009 12:10 PM

If not for the commercialized bastardization of the human pheromone concept, I'm relatively certain that anecdotes like yours would have been incorporated into study design. Results would show how much we rely on olfaction and pheromones to help us orient towards others, especially during traumatic situations. After all, the same things have been shown with other species. And I vaguely recall results that show the effects of fragrance on Alzheimer's patients. Scenting their room facilitates their return to it, and helps to prevent wandering and escape attempts--or something like that.

I've had similar experiences (to the one you reported) in the ER and also in the nursery when called upon to obtain specimens via venipuncture (or heelstick): a noticeable calming influence that I attribute to wearing a pheromone-enhanced fragrance product. RN's in the nursery typically comment on the fact that the newborn's don't even cry. And that makes it enjoyable for me to get out of the lab from time to time.

James V. Kohl



(11-07-2009 10:55 AM)Xiphoid Wrote:  This doesn't really surprise me. It's not news that smells and memory are linked, but I like the fact that they are now getting some interesting research done on the subject. I wouldn't be surprised if those activations are strong enough to spark memories even under conditions where those memories have been lost such as with various types of dementia.

I've already shared the following on the LP forum but I thought I'd add it here as well as it to me illustrates really beautifully how strong the association between smell and memories can be....

" I just wanted to share this moment of someting that happend to me at work the other day.

I was supposed to meet up with a colleauge for lunch but he never showed so I headed down to A&E to see what was holding him up. When I get there there's an elderly man who had been brought in by his son as he was very poorly. This elderly man was very confused (had no idea where he was), partly due to being septic but he probably also had underlying dementia. He was so very frail and weak from age & being poorly, but since he was also very confused and terrified he was putting up an impressive fight with the staff who were desperately trying to find IV access to give him fluids & antibiotics.

I approach my colleauge to ask him what the commotion was all about and if I could maybe run & get him a sandwich as it looked like he'd be unlikely to be going to lunch that day. I walk up to the patients bed to talk to my colleauge and almost instantaneously the elderly man stopped fighting the nurses. He looks up at me, grabs my hand, pulls it close to his face. Then he curls up on his side my hand still next to his face, and start stroking his face like a child would do with a comfort blankie. Everyone just stops what they are doing and stares at me & the little old man like they can't believe what they are seeing... I wasn't quite sure what to do so I look at my colleauge and shrug my shoulders, and nod towards the IV line which is quickly put in place without the elderly man protesting at all.

Now, I would absolutely love to take credit for this, and tell you this is all due to me being so good at what I do & having a comforting personality that just radiates empathy and understanding....but I can't. This poorly elderly man was comforted (and subsequently successfully treated for his infection) not because of me, but because I wore my Le Fleur Cremeuse that day. No magical calming phero's, just my Le Fleur Cremeuse.

Why do I say that? Well, when I turned around not knowing quite how to respond to the old man stroking my hand against his cheek I see his son standing there. A bit embarrassed I say to him that confusion can make people do strange things sometimes. The son looks at me, with teary eyes and then says the following; "No, he's not being strange, he's remembering...he thinks you're his wife...mum always smelled of roses"
11-07-2009 12:10 PM
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