Nasal inhalation may help us retain olfactory memories longer.
Scientists have been intrigued for some time about the effect that breathing has on the brain,”The idea that breathing affects our behavior is actually not new. In fact, the knowledge has been around for thousands of years in such areas as meditation,” said Artin Arshamian, the lead author of the study, which took place at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet. “But no one has managed to prove scientifically what actually goes on in the brain. We now have tools that can reveal new clinical knowledge.”
How the study tested the effect of nose-breathing on memory
“One stumbling block to understanding how breathing through the nose affects the brain is that scientists’ typical subjects — mice and rats — don’t breathe through their nose. Therefore, sniffing out the truth of the matter requires human subjects.”
- The study’s 24 subjects memorized 12 smells delivered through a nasal cannula during two training sessions.
- Afterward, they were given an hour off during which they were instructed to breathe exclusively through either their mouths or noses.
- This was followed by exposure to a variety of scents, some of which were from their training sessions and some of which were new.
- Subjects were asked to differentiate between the two.