The way we breathe can influence how well our memories are consolidated (ie reinforced and stabilized). When we breathe through the nose and not through the mouth after trying to learn a number of odors, we remember better, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden report in The Journal of Neuroscience affects the brain has become an increasingly popular field in recent years and new methods have enabled more studies, many of which have focused on memory. Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet now show that participants who breathe through their noses, strengthen their memories better.
"Our study shows that we are better at remembering odors as we breathe through the nasal memory – the process between learning and memory recall," says Artin Arshamian, researcher at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet. "This is the first time anyone has demonstrated this."
One reason why this phenomenon has not previously been available for studies is that the most common laboratory animals ̵
The results showed that participants inhaled their noses between the time of learning and the recognition better remembered the smells.
New method makes it easier to measure activity in the brain
"The next step is to measure what is actually happening in the brain during breathing and how this is related to memory," says Dr. Arshamian. "This has been virtually impossible since electrodes had to be inserted directly into the brain, we have managed to get around this problem, and now, with my colleague Johan Lundström, we are developing a new means of measuring activity in the olfactory bulb and brain, without having to introduce electrodes. "
Previous studies have shown that receptors in the olfactory bulb detect not only odors but also fluctuations in the airflow. In the various phases of inhalation and exhalation, different parts of the brain are activated. But how the synchronization of respiration and brain activity happens and how it affects the brain and therefore our behavior is unknown. However, traditional medicine has often emphasized the importance of breathing.
"The idea that breathing influences our behavior is not really new," says Dr. Arshamian. "Indeed, there has been knowledge for thousands of years in areas such as meditation, but no one has been able to scientifically prove what is actually going on in the brain, we now have tools that can reveal new clinical knowledge."  The study has been funded by several bodies, including the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Swedish Research Council and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, Ammodo Science Award.
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