Lost Sense of Smell After Head Trauma Could Signal TBI

In the March 18, 2015 issue of the journal Neurology federal researchers published the results of their study of over two hundred veterans with head trauma. They found that soldiers who had lost their sense of smell were far more likely to have evidence of TBI on neuroimaging studies. This because the ability to smell arises from transmission of odors to the brain from the olfactory nerve. In order to identify smells the brain has to compare the odor to memories of thousands of specific smells and find a perfect match. When memory is impaired from TBI the brain cannot perform this matching process accurately. In order to detect impaired sense of smell a physician can administer a bedside smell test to the patient.

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