People born without a sense of smell experience higher social insecurity and increased risk for depression, according to a study published Mar. 21 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.
The authors of the study, led by Ilona Croy of the University of Dresden Medical School in Germany, investigated 32 individuals born without a sense of smell, known as isolated congenital anosmia.
They found that the non-smellers did not have significant deviations from the norm in terms of many daily smell-related functions, such as food preferences and eating behaviors, but they did have increased social insecurity, increased risk for depression, as well as increased risk for household accidents. The mechanism behind these correlations is not yet known, but the results suggest that olfaction plays a role in these behaviors, the authors write.
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Croy I, Negoias S, Novakova L, Landis BN, Hummel T (2012) Learning about the Functions of the Olfactory System from People without a Sense of Smell. PLoS ONE 7(3): e33365. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033365