Perfume

This Beauty Product is Helping Alzheimer's Patients

And it's so simple, you'll wonder why researchers haven't tried it before

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All it takes is one whiff of a brown-bagged PB&J sandwich and you're right back in elementary school. Or maybe using Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner reminds you of your junior high boyfriend, who always commented on how great your hair smelled. Everyone knows that scent is the sense most strongly tied to memory, and now experts are taking advantage of this in Singaporean hospitals in an attempt to help Alzheimer's patients.

WWD reports that Givaudan, the Swiss manufacturer of flavorings and fragrances, has teamed up with Singaporean ad agency JWT to create "Smell A Memory" kits that use scent to evoke emotional memories in patients that suffer from Alzheimer's and dementia.

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Givaudan perfumers Anne-Sylvie Selezneff and Hee-Sooh are using patients' family history, age, ethnicity and personal stories to create tailor-made smells, such as "Bedtime Stories," "Mom's Cooking," "Freshly Cut Grass," and "School Days" to try to elicit emotional reactions.

"Our sense of smell is one of our most visceral instincts; it has an instant and powerful connection to memories, especially emotional ones," said Juhi Kali, executive creator at the advertising agency JWT Singapore. "We thought, 'What if we can use smell to evoke memories and emotions in these patients?' The idea was to evoke emotional memories, not just factual ones."

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Givaudan also points out that while aromas have been used to alter moods, this is perhaps the first time complex fragrance blends have been created to remedy health problems, and the future looks promising: Currently, further trials of the kits are being organized in two of Singapore's largest hospitals, and the program could be expanded abroad.

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