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How are scents retained in your memory?

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Structure of brain can help find the causes behind epilepsy.
Structure of brain can help find the causes behind epilepsy.
  • A brain area is responsible for creating memories from smells
  • Piriform cortex which is a part of the olfactory brain helps distinguish smell

London, Dec 24, 2017: Ever wondered how you retain memories of your favourite dish cooked by your mother or your partner’s scent?

Scientists have found that a brain area is responsible for creating memories from smells as well as retaining those memories even years later.

The study showed that “the piriform cortex” — a part of the olfactory brain, that distinguishes smells — is involved in the process of saving those memories.

“It is known that the piriform cortex is able to temporarily store olfactory memories. We wanted to know, if that applies to long-term memories as well,” said Christina Strauch from the Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum in Germany.

In the study, published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, the scientists wondered whether the piriform cortex needs to be instructed to create a long-term memory.

They then stimulated a higher brain area called the orbitofrontal cortex, which is responsible for the discrimination of sensory experiences. This time the stimulation of the brain area generated the desired change in the piriform cortex.

“Our study shows that the piriform cortex is indeed able to serve as an archive for long-term memories. But it needs instruction from the orbitofrontal cortex — a higher brain area — indicating that an event is to be stored as a long-term memory,” Strauch added. (IANS)

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Intake Of Vitamin B Nutrient Can Prevent Babies From Brain Disorders Caused By Cold During Pregnancy

Cold and flu are often unavoidable, even if the mother has had a flu shot. But cold and flu during pregnancy double the risk of future mental illnesses.

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When mothers had a cold or flu during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, the newborns'  ability to cease or delay the effect on the brain decreased by 27 per cent. Pixabay

Besides flu vaccines, maternal intake of a vitamin B nutrient can prevent babies from brain disorders caused by cold or flu in pregnancy, say researchers.

The study showed that higher levels of choline prevented brain problems and mental illness, like attention deficit disorder and schizophrenia, in babies even when the mother had cold or flu during pregnancy.

“Cold and flu are often unavoidable, even if the mother has had a flu shot. But cold and flu during pregnancy double the risk of future mental illnesses. More and more information show choline helps the baby’s brain develop properly,” said Robert Freedman, Professor at the University of Colorado in the US.

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The study showed that higher levels of choline prevented brain problems and mental illness, like attention deficit disorder and schizophrenia, in babies even when the mother had cold or flu during pregnancy. Pixabay

“We found higher levels of choline prevent foetal brain problems from developing, even when the mother is infected. Choline supplements in pregnancy can have a lifelong benefit for the infant,” Freedman said.

For the study, published in the Journal of Paediatrics, the team assessed prenatal maternal infection, C-Reactive Protein (CRP) — a marker of maternal inflammation — and the mothers’ choline levels.

Brain development before birth was assessed by measuring the baby’s brain waves soon after birth.

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Choline supplements in pregnancy can have a lifelong benefit for the infant,” Freedman said.
Pixabay

When mothers had a cold or flu during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, the newborns’
ability to cease or delay the effect on the brain decreased by 27 per cent.

Maternal flu also decreased children’s ability to pay attention and play.

Also Read: Study Warns Patients That Now Drugs Contain Inactive Ingredient

However, these effects were prevented if the mother had higher choline levels, the findings showed.

While the body creates some choline on its own and it is also naturally present in certain foods, including liver, red meat and eggs, pregnant women are recommended 450 mg of choline a day to improve babies’ brain development. (IANS)