Anxiety Might Help People Sniff Out Threats
Small study finds feeling anxious heightens the ability to detect potentially threatening odors
URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_123832.html
(*this news item will not be available after 07/05/2012)
Friday, April 6, 2012
Smell is essential to animals in order to detect, locate and identify predators. Odors also trigger powerful emotional responses in humans, the study authors pointed out.
Researchers Elizabeth Krusemark and Wen Li of the University of Wisconsin-Madison exposed 14 young adults to different types of odors while they underwent MRI brain scans. The participants' anxiety levels and breathing patterns were also recorded.
As the volunteers' anxiety levels rose, so did their ability to detect negative odors. The investigators also found that communication between the sensory and emotional areas of the brain increased in response to negative odors, particularly when people were anxious.
This heightened communication between these brain areas could be an important mechanism to boost awareness of potential threats, the researchers said.
The study was published in a recent online issue of the journal Chemosensory Perception.
Copyright (c) 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
- More Health News on: