DIET AND FITNESS:

Continued from page 1

Why Can't I Smell Anything? --Top
10 Causes and Remedies
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Last updated February 23, 2017 (originally published February 8, 2012)

By Alison Turner, Featured Columnist




7.  
‘Tis the season to lose our smell?  Acute upper respiratory
tract infections (URTIs) are a significant cause of olfactory
dysfunction in adults, and these URTIs usually appear
seasonally (think of “flu season,” for example).  

In 2006, researchers with the Smell & Taste Clinic at the
University of Dresden Medical School and the Department of
Otorhinolaryngology at the University of Cologne, led by Dr.
Thomas Hummel with the former,  investigated whether or
not olfactory dysfunction matches this seasonal trend.  

The study ran over a six year period and analyzed olfactory
loss after a URTI in 457 patients.  The team found that
olfactory dysfunction “exhibited seasonal fluctuations,” and
that it “differed significantly between months,” the months of
March and May showing the highest levels of incidence.  The
study concludes that “Post-URTI olfactory dysfunction
exhibits spring seasonality with peaks in March and May.”  

If it’s flu season and suddenly your smell’s not what it used
to be, try waiting a few weeks for the season and its
symptoms to change. (Read more about
natural remedies for
the flu.)

8.
Whose genes smell?  A large team of researchers from
around the world, including Germany, France, the UK, the U.
S., and Korea, may have located olfactory dysfunction to a
particular gene.  The 2011 study, led by Jan Weiss with the
Department of Physiology at the University of Saarland
School of Medicine in Homburg, Germany,   monitored human
patients with mutations that result in loss of function in the
SCN9A gene.  

Patients in whom this gene was mutated were “unable to
sense odours.”   The team concludes that the gene SCN9A is
“an essential requirement for odour perception” and that the
finding “provides new strategies to explore the genetic basis
of the human sense of smell.”

We can’t change our genes, but we can use them to explain
some of the mysteries of why we are the way we are: and
now a weakened sense of smell may be on that list.


























9.
Age with Hope.  As mentioned in the introduction, losing
our sense of smell can be a natural part of the aging process,
particularly in men: in one study reported by the NIDCD,
nearly one quarter of men between the ages 60 and 69
reported a smell disorder.   Recent findings may suggest an
opportunity to alter this trend for the better.

In 2011 Richard Costanzo and Yagi Sayaka with the
Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the VCU School
of Medicine in Richmond, Virginia, investigated the process of
performing a graft in the olfactory epithelium to restore
function.  

Previous work shows that sensory neurons in olfactory cells
continuously regenerate, and when they are transplanted in
different areas of the brain they grow axons and enter the
surrounding brain tissue.  The idea, then, is that olfactory
epithelium be grafted “directly to the olfactory bulb” to
restore nasal function.

10.  
Check Your Diabetes Status.  Did you know that diabetics
often have a weakened sense of smell? Our sense of smell
could be influenced by the amount of insulin in our system.  

In 2011, a team of researchers with the Department of
Internal Medicine at the University of Tubingen in Germany,
led by C. Ketterer,  assessed the sense of smell in eight “lean
subjects,” before and during an insulin injection, compared
with eight other “lean subjects” who had fasted and were
without insulin infusion.  Results showed that the sense of
smell of those in the control group who did not receive
insulin did not change, while subjects who were given
increased insulin levels showed a “reduced smelling
capacity.”  

While whether or not you are diabetic may change how this
news is useful to you, if you can’t figure out why your smell
is w
eakened, you may want to consult a physician about
monitoring your insulin levels.  
(Read more about the
symptoms of
Type 2 diabetes and about ideal breakfasts for
diabetics.)

[Update:

12.
Losing Your Sense of Smell Is an Early Warning Sign of
Parkinson's or Alzheimer's


Losing your sense of smell has been linked to neurological
disorders including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
A 1988 study from the Smell and Test Center of the
University of Pennsylvania found that up to 72% of those
with Parkinson's disease had deficiencies in their ability to
smell and yet were unaware of it. That study aslo discovered
that the poor olfactory function of Parkinson's patients and
those with Alzheimer's were nearly identically deficient.

All of this points out the need to have your sense of smell
tested regularly  --- at least once every two years --- after
the age of 50.  At home, you can keep yourself more aware
of your sense of smell by simply placing a bowl of lemons on
your kitchen table. Test whether you can smell the scent of
lemons as you enter the room.  

Also, smell your food deeply before you eat and eat with
other people where possible. In that way, you can compare
whether you are able to pick up scents as well as others.  If
everyone else is marveling at the smell of the roast and you
can't understand what all the fuss is about, that's a clue that
your sense of smell has declined.


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