In a new study, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign examined the relationship between flower colors, blood flow and brain function in healthy humans.
They found that red roses, lavender and lilac, all of which have blood-flow characteristics, are most closely associated with the brains of people with dementia.
The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience on Tuesday.
“Our study provides evidence that blood flow in the brain is important for cognition, which is important when we are dealing with complex cognitive tasks,” study author Rachel Schick said in a statement.
The study found that people with mild cognitive impairment, which includes mild cognitive dysfunction, had more red roses compared to those with mild dementia.
The researchers looked at the blood flow of more than 5,000 volunteers.
They looked at brain scans and brain tissue to find the relationship of the blood-oxygen level (BOLD) to cognition.
They then looked at other factors, such as whether the participant had a history of heart disease or stroke.
The findings were striking.
“We found that the red rose was associated with reduced BOLD in people with low cognitive impairment,” Schick told ABC News.
“People with low-functioning cognition are less likely to be red roses.”
Blood flow also correlated with cognition, meaning that red rose blood flow was related to reduced cognitive function.
“Red rose blood stream is associated with increased brain function,” Schink said.
The research suggests that the blood flowing to the brain may not just be a symptom of cognition, but also might have other effects.
The researchers said this could help explain the different types of dementia in people.
“The findings suggest that vascular systems, which normally connect blood vessels to the skin, might also be involved in cognitive function,” Dr. Scott R. McGovern, a neuroscientist at the Mayo Clinic, told ABCNews.
“They may be different than what we might think.
The red rose has been shown to have vasopressors, which are hormones that decrease blood flow to the heart.”
The study also found that in people who had mild dementia, red rose flowers were associated with decreased blood flow.
The flowers were also associated with less brain tissue and reduced oxygen in the brains.
“There’s a connection between the red roses and brain,” Schicks said.
“It is very interesting that in dementia, there’s this connection.”