Research Reports - Olfactory function in acute traumatic brain injury

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2015 Nov 24;140:68-72. doi:
10.1016/j.clineuro.2015.11.013. [Epub ahead of print]

Frasnelli J(1), Laguë-Beauvais M(2), LeBlanc J(2), Alturki AY(3), Champoux MC(2),
Couturier C(2), Anderson K(4), Lamoureux J(5), Marcoux J(6), Tinawi S(7), Dagher
J(7), Maleki M(6), Feyz M(2), de Guise E(8).

OBJECTIVE: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) represents a significant public health
problem and is associated with a high rate of mortality and morbidity. Although
TBI is amongst the most common causes of olfactory dysfunction the relationship
between injury severity and olfactory problems has not yet been investigated with
validated and standardized methods in the first days following the TBI.
METHODS: We measured olfactory function in 63 patients admitted with TBI within
the first 12 days following the trauma by means of the Sniffin' Sticks
identification test (quantitative assessment) and a parosmia questionnaire
(qualitative assessment). TBI severity was determined by means of the Glasgow
Coma Scale (GCS) and by duration of post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) as measured by
the Galveston Orientation and Amnesia Test.
RESULTS: Poor olfactory scores correlated with a longer amnesia period, but not
with GCS scores. Further, we observed higher parosmia scores in assault victims
than in victims of falls or motor vehicle collisions.
CONCLUSIONS: We show that PTA is intimately related to olfactory problems
following a TBI. Thus, a thorough evaluation of olfaction is essential in order
to detect posttraumatic olfactory dysfunction and to take appropriate actions
early on to help the individual deal with this impairment. 

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