Research Reports - Anosmia and olfactory outcomes following paediatric traumatic brain injury

Brain Inj. 2015 Nov 30:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]

Bakker K(1,)(2,)(3), Catroppa C(2,)(3,)(4,)(5), Anderson V(2,)(3,)(4,)(5).

OBJECTIVE: Research into olfactory dysfunction (OD) following paediatric
traumatic brain injury (TBI) is limited. The current study investigated the
frequency of OD following paediatric TBI and the relationship between OD and
injury characteristics including severity, site of impact and cause of injury. It
was hypothesized that children with moderate/severe TBI would demonstrate greater
OD than those with mild TBI.
DESIGN/METHOD: Thirty-seven children aged 8-16 with TBI were recruited to a
prospective longitudinal study at a metropolitan children's hospital. Olfactory
assessment, using the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test, was
completed at 0-3 months post-injury.
RESULTS: Nineteen per cent of participants demonstrated impaired olfaction, while
a small number (5%) were anosmic. A significant relationship between OD and
severity of injury was found. No other injury variables demonstrated a
significant relationship with olfactory outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: OD was relatively common in this paediatric TBI cohort and the
hypothesized relationship with severity of injury was supported. It is
recommended that information about OD after TBI be routinely provided to children
and families. Further research is needed in larger cohorts to support the
implementation of routine clinical assessment, understand the relationship
between OD and other injury characteristics, determine the functional
implications of OD and document recovery trajectories.

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