Saturday, December 5, 2015

The connection between smell and memory.

Smell and memory are connected in many ways. For instance, studies have shown that people are able to identify the specific smell of their romantic partners. Since smells aren’t actual objects, they are scents that get stored in our memory of places, events, people, etc. 

"So an odor similar to that of your grandmother's pantry might be more quickly associated with your memories of that place than a similar sight, which might be more generalized.” said Richard Doty, professor and director of the Smell and Taste Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Loss of smell is one of the initial symptoms in degenerative neurological diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Professor Doty has said that “Studies have shown a big connection between lowered sense of smell and the likelihood that a person will develop such diseases later. They've done studies measuring the sense of smell in people who have no signs or symptoms of Parkinson's, then taken the top 10 percent and the bottom 10 percent and followed them for years," he said. "All the people who were ultimately diagnosed with Parkinson's later in life came from the group who had smell problems when they were younger.” This theory hasn't been proven yet, but there's lots of circumstantial evidence tying the nose and olfactory system to both diseases. 

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