Smell Therapy Reduces Apnea in Infants

Published Online: Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Premature infants who are given a pleasant smell while in incubators have less risk of sleep apnea. In the current study, the researchers attempted to verify "whether the stimulating effect of a pleasant odor could counterbalance (at least partly) the respiratory fall observed during apneic spells."

Therefore, over a 24-hour period, the researchers pumped vanillin into the incubators of 14 infants born at 24 to 28 weeks into pregnancy who had recurrent sleep apnea even with medical therapy. The results of the study found that overall odor therapy caused a 36% reduction in the rate of sleep apnea in 12 of the infants. The average number of apnea episodes rose again when the odor therapy was stopped. The researchers noted that the smell therapy did not lead to any adverse effects. PT

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