Smells are strongly tied to memory
Kasefoto/Shutterstock Whiffs of certain smells can instantly take us back in time to a particular memory, but what is it about our nose that is so strongly connected to our brain? One study from Brown University found that women had more brain activity when they smelled fragrances associated with positive memories than with fragrances they hadn’t smelled before. Other studies show more brain activity with olfactory stimuli than its verbal reference (that means the smell of roses, for example, instead of the word roses). Although scientists don’t totally understand why this happens, it could be because the parts of the brain that process smell, memory, and emotion are located close together and are actually connected—which isn’t true of information from our other senses. Find out why sense of smell indicates your risk for memory loss.
Your brain processes more than five senses
sun ok/Shutterstock When you discuss senses, you normally think about the big five: vision, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. But according to Harvard Medical School, neurologists have named several other ways we perceive the world. One is “equilibrioception,” or balance, which is regulated by our vestibular system in the inner ear. Another is “proprioception,” the sense of where our body is in space, which keeps us from bumping into things. Others include our sense of pain, our sense of temperature, and our sense of time. There are also internal senses, which tell us when we’re hungry or thirsty, or when we have to go to the bathroom. Check out these other 50 incredible facts about basically everything.
Exercise benefits the brain
Vera Verano Photo/Shutterstock Many studies illustrate the ways exercise makes your brain better. “Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of dementia in adults age 65 and older—however, at every age, exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function,” says NJ-based fitness expert and dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies. “Exercise prior to learning a task was shown to result in increased memory and concentration.” This appears to be linked to an increase in circulation bringing oxygen and nutrients to the brain, while also helping to remove waste, she says. Learn the best time of day to work out if you want to improve your memory.