AS IF BECOMING a sommelier wasn’t already trendy enough, now it could be good for your brain! US researchers claim to have found a link between Master Sommeliers, who possess a heightened sense of smell, and a reduced risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The study, conducted by a team of US-based scientists and published in frontiers in human neuroscience, saw 26 individuals take part: 13 Master Sommeliers and 13 non Master Sommeliers. Carried out at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, the team assessed the brains of both groups and found that the parts of the brain that deal with memory were stronger among sommeliers compared to the second group. This suggests that those with heightened olfactory senses could be less prone to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the researchers concluded. “Our results indicate that sommeliers’ brains show specialization in the expected regions of the olfactory and memory networks, and also in regions important in integration of internal sensory stimuli and external cues”, they said. “Overall, these differences suggest that specialized expertise and training might result in enhancements in the brain well into adulthood. This is particularly important given the regions involved, which are the first to be impacted by many neurodegenerative diseases.” The study also suggested that the reason for sommeliers’ stronger brain capacity could be their need to recall details about a wine using only their sense of smell, exercising their memory more regularly. These findings help support previous studies which have claimed that alcohol can help improve, rather than impair, memory. A study conducted by researchers from Charité University in Berlin and published in the journal of neuroscience, found that people who take resveratrol supplements have better short-term memory.