Whose nose does not know? Demographical characterization of people unaware of anosmia.


Smell and Taste Center, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, TU Dresden, Fetscherstrasse 74, 01307, Dresden, Germany. [Email]


OBJECTIVE : For functionally anosmic subjects, the sense of smell is basically useless in daily activities-they are unlikely to detect the threatening smell of rotten food, gas or smoke, or to enjoy the flavor of food or the smell of perfumes. Although this appears very distressing, functionally anosmic subjects in our sample seemed not to be aware or bothered with impaired olfaction and enrolled for the study targeted to people with a normal sense of smell.
METHODS : In the large sample of 9139 subjects who declared themselves to have a normal sense of smell, we have retrospectively found a notable proportion of scores indicating functional anosmia.
RESULTS : When we look at the overall Sniffin' Sticks score, 0.45% of the sample was functionally anosmic and this fraction increased to 3.4% when the identification score of 8 points and below was used. We present demographical information of those subjects, who despite their inability to use smell in daily life, consider themselves healthy.
CONCLUSIONS : Data offer a new perspective on the importance of olfaction in daily life and supports the notion about the importance of using screening tools in clinical practice.



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