Odorants: a tool to provide nonpharmacological intervention to reduce anxiety during normal and pathological aging.
Neurobiol Aging. 2019 Jul 3;82:18-29. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2019.06.007. [Epub ahead of print]
Author Information: Ballanger B1, Bath KG2, Mandairon N3.INSERM, U1028; CNRS, UMR5292; Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, Neuroplasticity and Neuropathology of Olfactory Perception Team, Lyon F-69000, France; University Lyon, Lyon F-69000, France; University Lyon 1, Villeurbanne, F-69000, France.Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences, Brown University, Providence RI 02912, United States. INSERM, U1028; CNRS, UMR5292; Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, Neuroplasticity and Neuropathology of Olfactory Perception Team, Lyon F-69000, France; University Lyon, Lyon F-69000, France; University Lyon 1, Villeurbanne, F-69000, France. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anxiety disorders represent 1 of the most common classes of psychiatric disorders. In the aging population and for patients with age-related pathology, the percentage of people suffering of anxiety is significantly elevated. Furthermore, anxiety carries with it an increased risk for a variety of age-related medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, cognitive decline, and increased severity of motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease. A variety of anxiolytic compounds are available but often carry with them disturbing side effects that impact quality of life.
Among nonmedicinal approaches to reducing anxiety, odor diffusion and aromatherapy are the most popular. In this review, we highlight the emerging perspective that the use of odorants may reduce anxiety symptoms or at least potentiate the effect of other anxiolytic approaches and may serve as an alternative form of therapy to deal with anxiety symptoms. Such approaches may be particularly beneficial in aging populations with elevated risk for these disorders. We also discuss potential neural mechanisms underlying the anxiolytic effects of odorants based on work in animal models.
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