May 12, 2023 | 6:31 PM
Smells can evoke strong memories, but certain smells can help retain memories and alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Inhaling menthol may prevent the devastating memory loss and mental decline associated with dementia, the most common form of dementia, Spanish researchers report.
Scientists at the University of Cima de Navarra found in the first animal study that repeated short-term exposure to mint-scented organic compounds modulates subjects’ immune systems and prevents cognitive decline. .
“Surprisingly, we observed that short-term exposure to this substance for six months prevented cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s mice and, most interestingly, also improved cognitive performance in healthy young mice.” said Dr. Juan José Lasarte, director of the institute. Director of Cima’s Immunology and Immunotherapy Program and lead author of the study.
the study, was announced in When researchers exposed mice to the scent of menthol for one week each month for six months, levels of interleukin-1 beta, a protein that contributes to the inflammatory response in the animals, decreased, according to Frontiers in Immunology. .
Scientists believe that inflammatory activity in the brain contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease by destroying healthy neurons.
Noelia Casares, Ph.D., a researcher in the Immunology and Immunotherapy Program, said the findings give us a better understanding of how smells help regulate healthy brain function.
“These findings suggest that odor and immunomodulators may play important roles in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other related diseases, and we hope that understanding the relationship between the immune system, the central nervous system, and odor will be useful.” It’s an important step to take in the “central nervous system,” she said. media release.
The study’s authors say that the discovery of how olfactory functions affect cognitive function will facilitate the development of new odor-based treatments that may reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. says it is possible.
They also improved cognitive performance in Alzheimer’s mice by blocking the activity of regulatory T cells, a type of immune cell that plays a role in suppressing other immune activities.
Menthol is a natural chemical found in peppermint and other mint plants that is widely used not only in cosmetics but also in medicines to reduce pain and respiratory ailments.
Menthol was first added to tobacco in the 1920s and 1930s to reduce the harshness of tobacco smoke and the irritation caused by nicotine. However, smoking menthol cigarettes is not an ideal treatment for preventing Alzheimer’s disease, as smoking is known to cause inflammation and stress in cells and promote disease development.
a Looking back on 2015 More than 30 previous studies have found that smokers are 30% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia and 40% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.