New research from the Monell Center reveals that simply believing that an odor is potentially harmful can increase airway inflammation in asthmatics for at least 24 hours following exposure. The findings highlight the role that expectations can play in health-related outcomes.

“Asthmatics often are anxious about scents and fragrances. When we expect that an odor is harmful, our bodies react as if that odor is indeed harmful,” said study lead author Cristina JaĆ©n, PhD, a Monell physiologist. “Both patients and care providers need to understand how expectations about odors can influence symptoms of the disease.”