Research Reports - Persistent anosmia in a traumatic brain injury patient: Role of orbitofrontal cortex

Brain Inj. 2013 Oct 2

Caminiti F, Ciurleo R, Bramanti P, Marino S

Abstract Background: The olfactory loss due to traumatic brain injury is a common
clinical condition. The understanding of the cortical areas involved in ability
to detect, discriminate and identify the odours is still limited. However, it has
been shown that the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is involved in the discrimination
and recognition of odours and in particular the right OFC has a dominant role in
the central processing of smell. Method: This study used the Sniffin' Sticks Test
to evaluate olfactory function of a 40-year-old female with persistent
post-traumatic anosmia and to have a objective measure method for the follow-up.
Results: A marked decrease in the ability to identify and discriminate odours was
found. On the other hand the ability to perceive the odours was little
compromised. A cerebral Magnetic Resonance Imaging, performed 10 months after the
trauma, showed the presence of a post-traumatic scarring in the right frontal
lobe involving the OFC. Conclusions: In this case of post-traumatic anosmia, the
ability to perceive and recognize odours does not seem to be compromised in the
same measure. It is postulated that the post-traumatic outcomes, involving areas
of multisensory integration such as the OFC, have an important pathogenetic role
in the loss of ability to recognize and discriminate odours.

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