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Drink Up, Because Smelling Wine Can Stave Off Alzheimer's and Dementia

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We've all heard about the health benefits of drinking wine: It helps you lose weight, reduces stress, and may even stop breast cancer cells from growing. But did you know that simply smelling wine has its advantages, too?

Wine aficionados can attest to this, but the smelling of wine is an essential part of the tasting process, AND it can also do wonders for your brain. A new study published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience shows that "experts in wine and thus in olfaction"—AKA master sommeliers—are less likely to develop Alzheimer's Disease and dementia compared to people in other professions. (Ahem, maybe it's time we all quit our jobs.)

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas examined a group of 13 sommeliers and 13 non-wine experts (aka people with less cool jobs. Kidding!). They found that the wine experts had "enhanced volume" in certain parts of their brain, meaning: certain areas of their brain were thicker—especially those tied to smell and memory.

They study states: "There were regional activation differences in a large area involving the right olfactory and memory regions, with heightened activation specifically for sommeliers during an olfactory task."

"This is particularly important given the regions involved, which are the first to be impacted by many neurodegenerative diseases," the researchers said. "Overall, these differences suggest that specialized expertise and training might result in enhancements in the brain well into adulthood."

Now that is something we could all raise our glasses to. But for real, next time you pour yourself a marvelous glass of vino, make sure you sniff before you sip.

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