Saturday, December 10, 2016

Breathing the right way might help improve memory: study

Have you ever tried to focus by inhaling with a long, deep breath through the nose and exhaling through the mouth? A new study suggests that such an approach to breathing can indeed ease your mind and even improve memory.

The study, carried out by researchers at the Northwestern University, shows that nasal inhaling can affect brain activity and particularly, help people remember things.

Some 100 young adults were recruited to participate in the study and were asked to make quick judgements about facial expressions or objects that flashed across a computer screen. The results showed that when people were inhaling through their noses, they were able to recognize or remember things faster than when there were exhaling.

However, when they breathed through their mouths, memory fell.

The study is the first to show that rhythm in breathing can create electrical activity in the brain, according to the report published earlier this week in The Journal of Neuroscience.

One of the major findings is that nasal inhaling can cause a "dramatic difference" in areas of the brain related to emotional processing and memory, according to lead author Christina Zelano.

The study is "preliminary but exciting", said Zelano, as "it has the potential to lead to some deliberate breathing strategies for cognitive enhancement."

"If you're in a dangerous environment with fearful stimuli, our data indicate that you can respond more quickly if you are inhaling through you nose," she said.

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