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Improve Cognitive Function without Drugs

It seems like Brain fog is becoming a more prevalent topic in conversations nowadays. You most assuredly can hear it mentioned at work around the coffee pot with coworkers getting their afternoon "fix."

Usually, it is referring to grogginess or fatigue. But researchers are looking more and more into brain fog and other cognitive markers as early signals for Neurodegenerative Diseases (NDs). In a day where it seems there is literally a drug for everything under the sun, the race to find pharmaceuticals to "fix" NDs is on.

Cognitive Health
Cognitive Function

This focus on cognitive health has been a long time coming. Research into the role of the Olfactory System in neural and psychiatric health is rapidly growing as cognitive health concerns span a wide array of neurodegenerative issues.

Dr. Michael Leon at the UCI Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory states "Scientists have long known that the loss of olfactory capacity, or ability to smell, can predict development of nearly 70 neurological and psychiatric diseases."

Other familiar concerns include forms of Dementias (including Alzheimer's, Lewy bodies disease, and more), ADD, addictions, ALS, Epilepsy related dysfunctions, Parkinson's related dysfunctions, stroke related dysfunctions, Traumatic Brain injury, multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy related impairment, injury or impairment to different parts of the brain, anxiety, depression, mild cognitive impairment, and more.

Research has shown that an active lifestyle including exercise, nutritious diet incorporating healthy fats, social interaction, puzzles, and even learning new skills like playing an instrument can help support cognitive function.

More recently, a great amount of studies are focusing on Olfactory Enrichment Training as an efficient, effective, economical, and safe method to help reestablish neural pathways.

Olfactory Enrichment Training
Smell Training

In an article published in StatPearls featuring olfactory training, there were no complications experienced in the more than 40 studies reviewed. The only "downside" was that patients found the routine grew tiresome over the several months of inhaling. That is good news indeed since, as noted in the article, there is no medical or surgical treatment available for olfactory dysfunction.

If you think olfactory training sounds like a good idea, then check out Ambient Essentials' ReMinder Olfactory Enrichment Training Pilot Program and secure your spot in the next class.

Resources and studies:

Al Aïn S, Poupon D, Hétu S, Mercier N, Steffener J, Frasnelli J. Smell training improves olfactory function and alters brain structure. Neuroimage. 2019 Apr 1;189:45-54. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.01.008. Epub 2019 Jan 7. PMID: 30630079.

Angelucci F, Peppe A, Carlesimo GA, Serafini F, Zabberoni S, Barban F, Shofany J, Caltagirone C, Costa A. A pilot study on the effect of cognitive training on BDNF serum levels in individuals with Parkinson's disease. Front Hum Neurosci. 2015 Mar 16;9:130. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00130. PMID: 25852518; PMCID: PMC4360779.

Birte-Antina W, Ilona C, Antje H, Thomas H. Olfactory training with older people. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2018 Jan;33(1):212-220. doi: 10.1002/gps.4725. Epub 2017 Apr 21. PMID: 28429377.

Cha H, Kim S, Kim H, Kim G, Kwon KY. Effect of intensive olfactory training for cognitive function in patients with dementia. Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2022 Jan;22(1):5-11. doi: 10.1111/ggi.14287. Epub 2021 Nov 8. Erratum in: Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2022 Feb;22(2):188. PMID: 34749425.

Gellrich J, Han P, Manesse C, Betz A, Junghanns A, Raue C, Schriever VA, Hummel T. Brain volume changes in hyposmic patients before and after olfactory training. Laryngoscope. 2018 Jul;128(7):1531-1536. doi: 10.1002/lary.27045. Epub 2017 Dec 14. PMID: 29238983.

Kollndorfer K, Kowalczyk K, Hoche E, Mueller CA, Pollak M, Trattnig S, Schöpf V. Recovery of olfactory function induces neuroplasticity effects in patients with smell loss. Neural Plast. 2014;2014:140419. doi: 10.1155/2014/140419. Epub 2014 Dec 3. PMID: 25544900; PMCID: PMC4269319.

Kronenbuerger M, Pilgramm M. Olfactory Training. [Updated 2022 Oct 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-.  Available from:

Leon M, Woo C. Environmental Enrichment and Successful Aging. Front Behav Neurosci. 2018 Jul 23;12:155. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00155. PMID: 30083097; PMCID: PMC6065351.

Marin C, Langdon C, Alobid I, Mullol J. Olfactory Dysfunction in Traumatic Brain Injury: the Role of Neurogenesis. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2020 Jul 9;20(10):55. doi: 10.1007/s11882-020-00949-x. PMID: 32648230.


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