Traumatic brain injury causes loss of smell and taste

March 24, 2010

The ability to taste and smell can be lost or impaired after a head injury, according to a new study by scientists from the Université de Montréal, the Lucie Bruneau Rehabilitation Centre, as well as the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal. Published in the journal Brain Injury, the investigation established that mild to severe traumatic brain injury could cause olfactory loss.

"The study clearly demonstrates that olfactory deficits can occur in mild traumatic brain injury patients as well as in moderate and severe TBI patients," says study co-author and neuropsychologist Maurice Ptito, a professor at the Université de Montréal School of Optometry. "We also found that patients with a frontal lesion were more likely to show olfactory dysfunctions."

The research team recruited 49 people with TBI (73 percent male with a median age of 43) who completed a questionnaire and underwent two smell tests to measure their olfactory loss. The result: 55 percent of subjects had an impaired sense of smell, while 41 percent of participants were unaware of their olfactory deficit.

"Both tests indicated the same results: patients with frontal injury are more likely to suffer olfactory loss," says lead author Audrey Fortin, a professor at the Université de Montréal School of Optometry and researcher at the Lucie Bruneau Rehabilitation Centre.

Smell plays a vital role in our lives, says Dr. Fortin, since olfaction influences what we eat, can help us detect gas leaks or fires. also has a huge impact on interpersonal relationships, since olfactory disorders have been associated with poor quality of life, depression, mood swings, worries about personal hygiene, loss of appetite and cooking difficulties.

"Olfactory dysfunctions have a negative impact on daily life, health and safety," says Dr. Fortin. "It is important to pay attention to this symptom once a patient's condition has been stabilized following a ."

More information: Paper: informahealthcare.com/doi/pdf/ … 09/02699050903446815

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Brain training can improve our understanding of speech in noisy places

October 19, 2017
For many people with hearing challenges, trying to follow a conversation in a crowded restaurant or other noisy venue is a major struggle, even with hearing aids. Now researchers reporting in Current Biology on October 19th ...

Investigating the most common genetic contributor to Parkinson's disease

October 19, 2017
LRRK2 gene mutations are the most common genetic cause of Parkinson's disease (PD), but the normal physiological role of this gene in the brain remains unclear. In a paper published in Neuron, Brigham and Women's Hospital ...

Brain takes seconds to switch modes during tasks

October 19, 2017
The brain rapidly switches between operational modes in response to tasks and what is replayed can predict how well a task will be completed, according to a new UCL study in rats.

Researchers find shifting relationship between flexibility, modularity in the brain

October 19, 2017
A new study by Rice University researchers takes a step toward what they see as key to the advance of neuroscience: a better understanding of the relationship between the brain's flexibility and its modularity.

New procedure enables cultivation of human brain sections in the petri dish

October 19, 2017
Researchers at the University of Tübingen have become the first to keep human brain tissue alive outside the body for several weeks. The researchers, headed by Dr. Niklas Schwarz, Dr. Henner Koch and Dr. Thomas Wuttke at ...

Want to control your dreams? Here's how

October 19, 2017
New research at the University of Adelaide has found that a specific combination of techniques will increase people's chances of having lucid dreams, in which the dreamer is aware they're dreaming while it's still happening ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.