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Original Article

Exp Neurobiol 2020; 29(5): 389-401

Published online October 31, 2020

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

EEG Revealed That Fragrances Positively Affect Menopausal Symptoms in Mid-life Women

Sun Ae Moon1, Jisub Bae1, Kwangsu Kim1, Si Young Cho2, Gusang Kwon2, Ran Lee2, Seung Ho Ko2, Soyeon Lim2 and Cheil Moon1,3,4*

1Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Graduate School, Daegu Gyeungbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Daegu 42988, 2AMOREPACIFIC R&D Center, Yongin 17074, 3Convergence Research Advanced Centre for Olfaction, Daegu Gyeungbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Daegu 42988, 4Convergence Brain Research Department, Korea Brain Research Institute (KBRI), Daegu 41062, Korea

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
TEL: 82-53-785-1040, FAX: 82-53-785-6109

Received: August 18, 2020; Revised: September 18, 2020; Accepted: September 28, 2020

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

During mid-life, women experienced not only physical but also neurological transition. Because of this, many women suffer from physiological and/or psychological menopausal symptoms. Although hormone therapy (HT) was broadly used to alleviate menopausal symptoms, HT showed inconsistent effects in case of psychological symptoms. Moreover, mid-life women’s brains have distinct characteristics than in other periods of life, it is needed to study psychological symptoms in shifted brain network of mid-life women. As an alternative, inhalation of fragrances may alleviate psychological menopausal symptoms. To characterize the alleviation mechanism by fragrances, we tested the effect of fragrances on menopausal symptoms using electroencephalographic (EEG) methods. We hypothesized that fragrance could restore mid-life women’s brain response to stressful situations. We tested six fragrance conditions, including no-odor condition (solvent only) in twenty-eight mid-life women (49.75 years±3.49). Our results showed that fragrances increased alpha power and decreased β/α ratio depending on the severity of menopausal symptoms in a stressful situation. Our study would be helpful in psychological menopausal symptom alleviation as well as fragrance screening for well-being in mid-life.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords: Fragrance, Middle aged, Female, EEG, Depressive symptoms, Anxiety