We’ve all experienced it: that lady who walks on the train, bringing along with her the unavoidable scent of lilacs and lilies. Or that coworker who visits your office and leaves behind a wake of patchouli and spice. Well, it turns out that there may be a reason behind some women’s (and men’s) tendency to douse themselves in what sometimes seems to be gallons of perfume: depression.
A study at Tel Aviv University in Israel found a correlation between the sense of smell and depression. According to Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld, a researcher on the team that conducted this experiment, depression is linked to losing weight and, more notably, losing the sense of smell.
Researchers found that triggering depression in female mice caused the mice’s olfactory receptors to be turned off, inhibiting their ability to smell. A side effect of this in humans is that they overdo their perfume.
Another parallel drawn from this study is that the loss of smell could be directly linked to weight loss in depressed individuals-if you can’t smell the cookies baking in the oven, you don’t crave them and thereby lose weight.
This is considered a major breakthrough in the science of smell, and it can lead to new discoveries related to the diagnosis and treatment of depression.
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