Anosmia

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Anosmia is losing the the sense of smell. The word is also used for people who never had this sense. The loss can be temporary, or permanent. The conditions that cause a temporary loss of this sense include:

Smelling things depends on two nerves (Nervus olfactorius and Nervus trigeminus), as well as the part of the brain which processes the information. Damage to this system will affect the sense of smell; permanent damage may lead to a permanent loss of the sense of small.

There are tests that can be done to find the cause of the problem.

The sense of smell also affects the sense of taste. People who cannot small smell have only the basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami.

Note also that the sense of smell changes with age.[1] Anosmia can also point to different neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease,[2] Alzheimer's disease,[3] or Schizophrenia.[4] Certain plants, such as tobacco also contain substances which change olfaction.

In general, anosmia which has its cause in the brain cannot be treated. Anosmia which is caused by blocking the nose can be treated by removing the block. In some cases, accupuncture was successfully used to treat anosmia.[5]

References

  1. Doty, R.; Shaman, P; Applebaum, S.; Giberson, R; Siksorski, L; Rosenberg, L (1984). "Smell identification ability: Changes with age". Science. 226 (4681): 1441–3. doi:10.1126/science.6505700. PMID 6505700.
  2. Doty, RL; Deems, DA; Stellar, S (1988). "Olfactory dysfunction in parkinsonism: A general deficit unrelated to neurologic signs, disease stage, or disease duration". Neurology. 38 (8): 1237–44. doi:10.1212/WNL.38.8.1237. PMID 3399075.
  3. Murphy, Claire (1999). "Loss of Olfactory Function in Dementing Disease". Physiology & Behavior. 66 (2): 177–82. doi:10.1016/S0031-9384(98)00262-5.
  4. Rupp, Claudia I.; Fleischhacker, W. Wolfgang; Kemmler, Georg; Kremser, Christian; Bilder, Robert M.; Mechtcheriakov, Sergei; Szeszko, Philip R.; Walch, Thomas; Scholtz, Arne W. (2005). "Olfactory functions and volumetric measures of orbitofrontal and limbic regions in schizophrenia". Schizophrenia Research. 74 (2–3): 149–61. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2004.07.010. PMID 15721995.
  5. Michael W (2003). "Anosmia treated with acupuncture". Acupuncture in Medicine. 21 (4): 153. doi:10.1136/aim.21.4.153.
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