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Take a deep breath, to be calm and alert


In college debate competition, you had to effectively respond to your opponent and win, and to do it in a short time. There was also this contest called "Just a minute", where the judge will ask you to talk about a topic he chooses; You should not talk about it for one minute – no hemming and hawing, no ridiculous words and gasp. And whoever does it the most reasonable in the moment of victory.

In all this, our teacher or "coach" would tell us, "take a deep breath before you start, it will improve your productivity." The fact that he was right, it was recently confirmed by a study of a group of scientists led by Prof. Noam Sobel of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, under the title "A man without knowledge of the olfactory phase-locked with breathing» (Perl et al. The nature of human behavior, March 11, 2019 , Good "popular" summary of this work was presented by Dr. Yivsam Azgad Group Media Relations at Weizmann. In this study, the authors compared the performance within the group of volunteers, where they presented the cognitive task on them, along with the inhalation or exhalation. Tasks include mathematical puzzles, spatial visualization tasks (or 3-dimensional figure can exist in reality), and verbal tasks (words shown on the screen were real) .The experiment was designed so that the subjects did not know that their breathing is breathing under control. At the same time, the electrical activity of the brain of each was monitored using EEG (electroencephalogram).

sniffing the brain

Three points of the note came from the court. First, they found that in studies where participants inhaled when attempting a task they did better than when they breathed. Secondly, if one inhales through the nose or mouth, it does not matter much, though, "picture-perfect" sample would prefer to nose oral breathing. Third, the EEG results showed also changed the model communication between different parts of the brain, which is different along the respiratory cycle.

Please note that as we breathe, we take oxygen from the air. Thus, it is the oxygen they breathe that helped? When asked Professor Soba said, "No; the time frame does not fit. the reaction time was much earlier than the time required for oxygen from the lungs to reach the brain … It is not only the olfactory system, is sensitive to the inhalation and exhalation is the whole brain. We believe that we could generalize and say that the brain works better with breathing … We believe that this is "sniffing the brain."

The most ancient sense

The document also notes that only a sniff – not odourants – conducts neural activity; Thus, it is not necessarily good or pleasant smell depending on the malodor. Group of hypotheses, nasal inhalation, except for processing of incoming information and optimizes the interaction mechanisms for input nya-olfactory (not just related to smell). This sniffing or breathing activity drives the brain has an evolutionary history. Unicellular organisms and plants absorb volatile or gaseous substances into the air in their cells (this can be regarded as a precursor inhalation). We know as snorting performed synchronously with the whipping and vocalization mice echolocation and bats. Dr. Ofer Perl suggests that the sense of smell is considered as ancient feeling which may act as a template for other, later senses and the general development of the brain in humans. The authors note that the word "inspiration" in the Oxford dictionary means not only involve breathing, but also the process of being mentally stimulated.

Yoga and meditation

Although these authors have no direct answer to this question, we note that some scholars have suggested that yoga exercise (controlled breathing) leads to calmness and serenity. In a number of experiments at Stanford University, USA, he revealed as a band of 175 neurons in the brain act as respiratory pacemaker mice (used as a model), and how to control breathing promotes mental tranquility animals (Yackle et al., Science, 355, 1411-1415, 2017, ). Addressing the people in the work of Dr. Bailey and his colleagues at Monash University in Australia ( compared to 34 people practicing meditation with 28 years / sex matched "controls". In "meditating", had increased brain activity range to meet the needs of the task, the higher order processes and sensory apprehension. In addition, a group of Beijing, China (Ma et al., Frontiers in Psychology 2017 ) Conducted a test using 20 people who have been trained to breathe at 4 breaths / minute (a la yoga), while the other 20 were controls. The comparison showed that the training group had significantly lower cortisol levels and improving sustained attention. Finally, a systematic critical review of Zaccaro and other ( concludes that slow breathing techniques increase parasympathetic activity, emotional control and psychological well-being.

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