Scents and smells 'play a key role in forming long-term memories'

A new report led by University of Queensland researchers has found scents and smells play a key role in forming long-term memories. The study, which could have implications for conditions such as autism, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, explored the antennae function of bees. Dr Judith Reinhard from the Queensland Brain Institute said bees' antennae work similarly to a human nose. “Our team found that odour memories trigger recall of associated events and that long-term odour memory formation in the brain regulates the sense of smell in the 'nose' via regulating the receptor molecules. “Preferences for different foods and beverages are linked to our sense of smell. Our research shows that long-term scent memories modify how odours are perceived. “In a nutshell, our smell experiences shape our preferences.” The Institute's Associate Professor Charles Claudianos said it's a boost for the understanding of smell-memory connection and could help to explain the notion of an “acquired taste.” But he said there could be more significant implications of the research. ““The discovery may also provide a means to detect early problems with memory formation and memory retrieval in the brain.” Dr Reinhard said the research should be grounds to investigate the link further. Read more here.

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