Sensory Enrichment for Older Adults

2019-04-17 12:55:22 | BioPortfolio


This study evaluates the efficacy of multi-odorant enrichment on cognitive skills, olfactory function, and quality of life.


The purpose of this study is to explore sensory stimulation as a potential means of enhancing cognitive abilities. In mice, multi-odorant enrichment has been shown to increase neurogenesis in a critical memory pathway and thereby improve memory. In this clinical study, we will determine if a nightly sensory enrichment regimen using scents for 6 months can improve cognitive skills, as measured using a series of cognitive assessments and brain imaging in older adults. We also will determine if mood/mental state of mind or olfactory functioning improve following scent stimulation.

This study will enroll approximately 200 participants. Of the 200 participants in the study, 50 individuals, who are interested in participating, will have a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scan at the beginning and end of the study, which will be used to examine changes in the brain.

Participants will undergo cognitive assessments, computerized cognitive assessments, and olfactory function assessments. They will be randomly assigned to either an experimental or an active control group, and will be exposed to either a higher or lower concentration of essential oils nightly using a nebulizing fragrance diffuser, rotating through seven different scents, one per night. The exposures will continue for 6 months, after which the participants will return and undergo the same assessments conducted at the beginning of the study.

Study Design


Cognitive Function


olfactory enrichment (essential oils)


University of California Irvine
United States




University of California, Irvine

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-04-17T12:55:22-0400

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Oils which evaporate readily. The volatile oils occur in aromatic plants, to which they give odor and other characteristics. Most volatile oils consist of a mixture of two or more TERPENES or of a mixture of an eleoptene (the more volatile constituent of a volatile oil) with a stearopten (the more solid constituent). The synonym essential oils refers to the essence of a plant, as its perfume or scent, and not to its indispensability.

Set of nerve fibers conducting impulses from olfactory receptors to the cerebral cortex. It includes the OLFACTORY NERVE; OLFACTORY BULB; olfactory tract, olfactory tubercle, anterior perforated substance, and olfactory cortex. The term rhinencephalon is restricted to structures in the CNS receiving fibers from the olfactory bulb.

Genes whose loss of function or gain of function MUTATION leads to the death of the carrier prior to maturity. They may be essential genes (GENES, ESSENTIAL) required for viability, or genes which cause a block of function of an essential gene at a time when the essential gene function is required for viability.

A set of cognitive functions that controls complex, goal-directed thought and behavior. Executive function involves multiple domains, such as CONCEPT FORMATION, goal management, cognitive flexibility, INHIBITION control, and WORKING MEMORY. Impaired executive function is seen in a range of disorders, e.g., SCHIZOPHRENIA; and ADHD.

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