Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wearing Too Much Perfume May Indicate Depression

Date:
January 8, 2008
Source:
Tel Aviv University
Summary:
New research links depression to loss of the sense of smell, suggesting that the blues may have biological roots. "Our scientific findings suggest that women who are depressed are also losing their sense of smell, and may overcompensate by using more perfume," according to one of the researchers.

Can’t smell the roses? Maybe you’re depressed. Smell too much like a rose yourself? Maybe you’ve got the same problem. Scientists recently linked depression to a biological mechanism that affects the olfactory glands. It might explain why some women, without realizing it, wear too much perfume.
Credit: iStockphoto/Kruglikov Dmitry

Can’t smell the roses? Maybe you’re depressed. Smell too much like a rose yourself? Maybe you’ve got the same problem. Scientists from Tel Aviv University recently linked depression to a biological mechanism that affects the olfactory glands. It might explain why some women, without realizing it, wear too much perfume.

Scientific research that supports this theory was published this year in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism. “Our scientific findings suggest that women who are depressed are also losing their sense of smell, and may overcompensate by using more perfume,” explains researcher Prof. Yehuda Shoenfeld, a member of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. “We also believe that depression has biological roots and may be an immune system response to certain physiological cues.”

Women who are depressed are also more likely to lose weight. With a reduced sense of smell, they are less likely to have a healthy appetite, he says.

Prof. Shoenfeld draws his conclusions from lifetime research on autoimmune diseases, focusing on conditions such as lupus, arthritis and rheumatism.

More Than a Feeling

Affecting about 1.5 million Americans, depression accompanying lupus, Prof. Shoenfeld has found, is much more than an emotional reaction to being ill. It appears to have a biological cause.

In lupus patients and those with other autoimmune diseases, a particle known as an “autoantibody” attacks the person’s own immune system, appearing in the human body as an aberrant reaction to autoimmune diseases. This particle “is a real novelty,” says Prof. Shoenfeld. “We have found that, when generated, it weakens a person’s sense of smell and can induce the feeling of depression.”

Scientists today widely accept the fact that people with Alzheimer’s disease lose their sense of smell. Prof. Shoenfeld’s research is the first that links depression to smell in lupus patients, however.

The implications are wide and can be applied to the general population, says Prof. Shoenfeld. “People who are depressed seem to respond well to aromatherapy. Certain smells seem to help them overcome the effects of the biological factors, suggesting that depression may have a biological cause.”

This research also raises questions about the cause of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. “There may be an organic cause to these disorders, and if this is the case, clinicians might have to change their attitude about current therapies they use,” Prof. Shoenfeld says. “I think that science is able to show that aromatherapy might not be just for quacks. After all, some of these remedies have been used since the time of the Egyptians to treat organic diseases.”

Prof. Shoenfeld also suggests that a standardized “smell test” could be used by doctors to help diagnose depression as well as autoimmune diseases.

Retail Therapy and Aromatherapy

He adds that the association between one’s sense of smell and depression has interesting implications for “smell marketing,” used by retailers to encourage shoppers to buy, especially around holiday time. “These tactics are already being used by retailers and banks all over the world,” says Prof. Shoenfeld.

“The retail industry has learned that if it splashes good smells around, it can convince clients to buy more and invest more money. It certainly has an effect on one’s mood.”

Prof. Shoenfeld is an internationally recognized expert in autoimmune diseases and a medical doctor. He is the head of the Department of Medicine “B” at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel and edits four medical journals, including Harefua (in Hebrew), The Journal of Autoimmunity, Autoimmunity Reviews and the Israel Medical Association Journal. Work on this recent study was done in close collaboration with Prof. Joab Chapman, the head of the Neurology Department at Sheba Medical Center, and a professor at Tel Aviv University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Tel Aviv University. "Wearing Too Much Perfume May Indicate Depression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080103124645.htm>.
Tel Aviv University. (2008, January 8). Wearing Too Much Perfume May Indicate Depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080103124645.htm
Tel Aviv University. "Wearing Too Much Perfume May Indicate Depression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080103124645.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins