Remembering the past with slow breathing associated with activity in the parahippocampus and amygdala

Department of Physiology, Showa University School of Medicine, 1-5-8 Hatanodai, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 142-8555, Japan.
Neuroscience Letters (Impact Factor: 2.03). 06/2012; 521(2):98-103. DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2012.05.047
Source: PubMed


Breathing plays an important role in perception of odors and the experience of emotions. We used the dipole tracing method to analyze brain areas related to odor-induced autobiographical memory and emotions estimated from averaged electroencephalograms triggered by inspiration onset during odor presentation. Odor stimuli were perfumes subjects named that elicited a specific, pleasant and personal memory as well as two pleasant odors for controls. The perfumes induced specific emotional responses during memory retrieval, arousal level of the memory, feelings of pleasantness and a sense of familiarity with the odor. Respiration measurement indicated that tidal volume increased and respiratory frequency decreased during presentation of perfume stimuli, showing a deep and slow breathing pattern. Throughout the olfactory stimulation, electroencephalograms and respiration were simultaneously recorded. In the averaged potentials, low frequency oscillation was phase-locked to inspiration. Dipole analysis showed that perfumes activated more widespread areas of the right parahippocampal cortex and converged in the right amygdala compared to control odors. Slow breathing synchronized with odor-induced autobiographical memory and emotions may be subconsciously stored in the parahippocampal cortex and amygdala.

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    • "Odors that triggered the retrieval of the spatio-contextual environment were associated with increased duration and volume of inspirations compared with odors that did not trigger any recall. These data are consistent with previous studies investigating breathing during autobiographical retrieval (Masaoka et al., 2012a,b). The current variation in breathing during memory construction raises interesting questions. "
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    ABSTRACT: We behaviorally explore the link between olfaction, emotion and memory by testing the hypothesis that the emotion carried by odors facilitates the memory of specific unique events. To investigate this idea, we used a novel behavioral approach inspired by a paradigm developed by our team to study episodic memory in a controlled and as ecological as possible way in humans. The participants freely explored three unique and rich laboratory episodes; each episode consisted of three unfamiliar odors (What) positioned at three specific locations (Where) within a visual context (Which context). During the retrieval test, which occurred 24-72 h after the encoding, odors were used to trigger the retrieval of the complex episodes. The participants were proficient in recognizing the target odors among distractors and retrieving the visuospatial context in which they were encountered. The episodic nature of the task generated high and stable memory performances, which were accompanied by faster responses and slower and deeper breathing. Successful odor recognition and episodic memory were not related to differences in odor investigation at encoding. However, memory performances were influenced by the emotional content of the odors, regardless of odor valence, with both pleasant and unpleasant odors generating higher recognition and episodic retrieval than neutral odors. Finally, the present study also suggested that when the binding between the odors and the spatio-contextual features of the episode was successful, the odor recognition and the episodic retrieval collapsed into a unique memory process that began as soon as the participants smelled the odors.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
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    • "Excitation by olfactory stimuli transmits to conscious processing of olfactory perception in the orbitofrontal cortex after subconscious processing in olfactory limbic areas [22]. The influence of higher cognitive functions such as word [23] and face recognition processing by dynamic subconscious activity in limbic systems by odor stimulation [24] could be another candidate mechanism for the mutual reinforcement of analgesia by the lavender odor and expectations related to positive information. "
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    ABSTRACT: No previous report has described whether information regarding an odor used in aromatherapy has placebo effects. We investigated whether placebo analgesia was engendered by verbal information regarding the analgesic effects of an odor. Twelve of 24 subjects were provided with the information that a lavender odor would reduce pain (informed), whereas the other 12 subjects were not (not-informed). Concurrent with respiration recording, the subjects were administered a lavender-odor or no-odor treatment during application of painful stimulation to the forefinger. The subjects reported their experience of pain and its unpleasantness on a visual analogue scale after the painful stimulation. The lavender-odor treatment significantly alleviated pain and unpleasantness compared with the no-odor treatment in the informed (P < 0.01) and not-informed groups (P < 0.05). The no-odor treatment in the informed group significantly alleviated pain and unpleasantness compared with both the no-odor and lavender-odor treatments in the not-informed group (P < 0.05). Rapid and shallow breathing induced by the painful stimulation became slow and deep during the lavender-odor and no-odor treatments in both groups. Information regarding a lavender odor, the lavender odor itself, and slower breathing contributed to reduced perceptions of pain and unpleasantness during painful stimulation, suggesting that placebo effects significantly contribute to analgesia in aromatherapy.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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    • "The findings suggested that meditators were able to uncouple viewing negative emotional images and affect when there were competing cognitive demands, not during emotional processing per se. These findings cannot be directly extrapolated to yoga breathing, though it would be of interest to determine whether yoga breathing techniques can help in uncoupling of negative emotions, given the close connections between breathing and emotions [12]. However this was not the aim of the present study. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study assessed the effect of alternate nostril yoga breathing (nadisuddhi pranayama) on P300 auditory evoked potentials compared to a session of breath awareness of equal duration, in 20 male adult volunteers who had an experience of yoga breathing practices for more than three months. Peak amplitudes and peak latencies of the P300 were assessed before and after the respective sessions. There was a significant increase in the P300 peak amplitudes at Fz, Cz, and Pz and a significant decrease in the peak latency at Fz alone following alternate nostril yoga breathing. Following breath awareness there was a significant increase in the peak amplitude of P300 at Cz. This suggests that alternate nostril yoga breathing positively influences cognitive processes which are required for sustained attention at different scalp sites (frontal, vertex and parietal), whereas breath awareness brings about changes at the vertex alone.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · BioPsychoSocial Medicine
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