Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scents will not rouse us from slumber, says new Brown University study

18.05.2004


While sound can disrupt sleep, scents cannot. People cannot rely on their sense of smell to awaken them to the danger of fire, according to a new Brown University study.



Study participants easily detected odors when awake and in the early transition into sleep (Stage One sleep) but, once asleep, did not. The findings indicate a significant alteration of perceptual processing as a function of sleep.

“Human olfaction appears insufficiently sensitive and reliable to act as a sentinel system,” said Rachel S. Herz, visiting assistant professor of psychology and an author of a study titled “Minimal Olfactory Perception During Sleep: Why Odor Alarms Will Not Work for Humans,” published in a recent issue of the journal Sleep.


Researchers studied the effects of two scents – the pleasurable peppermint and offensive pyridine – on six participants in their early 20s.

Over two nights, participants wore an elastic chinstrap to encourage nose breathing. Researchers presented odors through a tube attached to an air-dilution device. The odors were tested during moderately deep Stage Two sleep, deep Stage Four sleep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

No one responded to peppermint during sleep. Responses to the intense and noxious pyridine were infrequent and did not wake any participants in the deepest stage of sleep. Pyridine is a component of coal tar and used as a herbicide for firewood, and thus a likely byproduct of many real fires, according to the authors.

However, sound woke the participants regardless of the sleep stage. A moderately loud auditory tone produced arousal from sleep virtually every time the scents did not.

Most odors stimulate people’s trigeminal nerve to some degree, which is relevant to detection of the scent. Both odors used in the study were of comparable trigeminal strength even though one was pleasant and the other aversive at high concentrations.

“As the saying goes,” said the paper’s co-author Mary A. Carskadon, “we ‘wake up and smell the coffee,’ not the other way around.” Carksadon is a professor of psychiatry and human behavior in the Brown Medical School and director of chronobiology at E.P. Bradley Hospital.

The research was supported by a Grass Foundation Trustee Grant and approved by the Institutional Review Board of the E.P. Bradley Hospital.

Kristen Cole | Brown University
Further information:
http://www.brown.edu/Administration/News_Bureau/2003-04/03-139.html

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Keen Sense for Molecules

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

“Laser Technology Live” at the AKL’18 International Laser Technology Congress in Aachen

23.02.2018 | Trade Fair News

Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen

23.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>