WJU set to take part in unique study

NEW STUDY — WJU student Colton Claytor, left, is taking part in a new study conducted by members of the university’s psychology department. Also shown are Juan Pablo Troconis Bello, alumnus R.J. Canter and Sabrina Soriano who will be responsible for conducting the research for this study. -- Contributed

WHEELING — Wheeling Jesuit University’s Bryan Raudenbush and his students will undertake new research to see what effect different types of mint scents might have on pain perception.

Raudenbush, associate professor of psychology and director of undergraduate research at WJU, has received a grant from the Mint Industry Research Council to help fund this research. Two senior psychology majors, Juan Pablo Troconis Bello and Sabrina Soriano, along with alumnus R.J. Canter, will be responsible for conducting the research for this study.

“This is an opportunity to determine if different types of mint scents reduce pain perception. If we determine that certain scents impact pain, this would allow people an alternative to pain medication,” said Raudenbush.

In 2004, Raudenbush conducted a study on pain perception that only used peppermint. This new research will look at various types of mint scents that have not yet been tested in correlation to pain perception.

According to Raudenbush, “This study will use and compare Mentha Piperita (peppermint), Mentha Gracilis (ginger mint) and Mentha Spicata (spearmint).”

To conduct this experiment Raudenbush will use 40 volunteers between 20-50 years of age; half of them male and half of them female.

“Participants will wear nasal cannulas through which either oxygen (control condition) or oxygen plus scent will be administered,” said Raudenbush.

While inhaling the scent, the research subjects will submerge their dominant hand or forearm in a Lauda Circulation Tank System which circulates 3 degrees C water into a reservoir tank. The research partipants will be asked to rate their pain level on a scale from zero to 10.

In 2016, Raudenbush concluded that these three types of scents showed major changes in mental performance, physical performance, physiology, mood and task load. Now, Raudenbush will look for a correlation between these mint scents and perception of pain.

According to previous research conducted, “Pain is claimed to be the costliest health problem in America.” He noted if they can find a correlation between the administration of mint scents and a reduction in pain perception, this could result in fewer prescribed medications, as well as finding new alternatives for combating pain.

Raudenbush and Troconis Bello will present the results of this research at the Mint Industry Research Council annual conference in New Orleans in January.