Research Reports - Olfactory impairment following traumatic brain injury

NeuroRehabilitation. 2017 May 11. doi: 10.3233/NRE-171477. [Epub ahead of print]

Drummond M(1)(2)(3), Douglas J(1)(4)(5), Olver J(2)(3).

BACKGROUND: Olfactory Impairment (OI) can present in up to 66% of all individuals
following traumatic brain injury (TBI) and can have significant implications for
everyday life.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the predictive factors, natural progression and
consequences of OI in following TBI in individuals 12 months post injury.
METHODS: In this prospective longitudinal study, 37 adults (28 males, 9 females),
mean age 42.3 years (SD 19.4), with predominately severe TBI (mean length of
posttraumatic amnesia (PTA) 28.6 days, SD 22.6) were assessed using the
University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT). Each participant
also participated in an open ended interview to allow exploration of their
experience of having OI.
RESULTS: Twenty-three (63.89%) of the participants demonstrated persisting OI at
12 months. Nineteen of these participants demonstrated no change in their OI
severity category and 4 produced a poorer performance. Thirteen participants
(36.11%) demonstrated some recovery with 6 of these performing within the
'normal' range for age andgender.
CONCLUSIONS: OI is an enduring impairment for a substantial proportion of
individuals who experience it following severe TBI. It impacts a range of
everyday activities, regardless of its severity, and requires comprehensive
management during rehabilitation. 

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