Wheeling Jesuit Professor Receives Grant to Conduct Research

  WJU News
  Thursday, October 5, 2017 2:14 PM
  Academics, WJU News

Wheeling, WV

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

psygrant-web.jpgDr. Raudenbush, professor of Psychology and director of Undergraduate Research at WJU, has received a grant from the Mint Industry Research Council (MIRC) that will help fund this research. Two senior psychology majors, Juan Pablo Troconis Bello and Sabrina Soriano, along with alumnus R.J. Canter ‘05 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 Dr. 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 that are half male and half female. In order to deliver the scent they will use 50 milliliter of scent that will flow through oxygen produced by an Airsep® Newlife Oxygen Concentrator.  “Participants will wear nasal cannulas through which either oxygen (control condition) or oxygen plus scent will be administered,” said Dr Raudenbush.

While inhaling the scent, the research subjects will submerge their dominiate 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.

Jason Stromme of the Mint Industry Research Council said of Raudenbush’s past research, "Dr. Bryan Raudenbush has provided some promising results relating to the effects of Mentha Piperita scent on pain threshold, pain tolerance, physiology, mood and workload. As finding new marketplaces for the use of peppermint and spearmint would undoubtedly be beneficial to us all, this new research has upside potential and the Science Advisory Committee (SAC ) is currently working with Dr. Raudenbush to explore how to best move forward with this research.”

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

To learn more about Wheeling Jesuit University’s psychology department or other programs offered, contact the WJU Admissions Office at 304-243-2359 or admiss@wju.edu.

PHOTO CUTLINE: WJU student Colton Claytor (left) is taking part in a new study being done by members of the university’s psychology department. Also shown are Juan Pablo Troconis Bello, alumnus R.J. Canter ‘05 and Sabrina Soriano who will be responsible for conducting the research for this study.

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