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J Neurotrauma. 2016 Apr 15;33(8):777-83. doi: 10.1089/neu.2015.4075. Epub 2015 Dec 14.

Recovery of Olfactory Function following Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury: A Longitudinal Follow-Up.

Bakker K1,2,3, Catroppa C1,2,4,5, Anderson V1,2,4,5.

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1 Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne , Victoria, Australia .
2 Murdoch Childrens Research Institute , Melbourne, Australia .
5 Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service, Royal Children's Hospital , Melbourne, Australia .
3 Psychology Department, Royal Children's Hospital , Melbourne, Australia .
4 School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne , Victoria, Australia .


There is increasing evidence that disruption of olfactory function after pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) is common. Olfactory dysfunction (OD) has been linked to significant functional implications in areas of health, safety, and quality of life, but longitudinal research investigating olfactory recovery is limited. This study aimed to investigate recovery trajectories for olfaction following pediatric TBI and explore predictors of early and late olfactory outcomes. The olfactory function of 37 children with TBI ages 8-16 years was assessed on average at 1.5, 8.0, and 18.0 months post-injury using the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test. A significant improvement in olfactory performance was seen over time in those with acute OD, however, only 16% of those with the most severe OD showed recovery to normal olfactory function, with the remainder demonstrating ongoing olfactory impairment at the 18 month follow-up. Predictors of early (0-3 month) and late (18 month) olfactory outcomes varied with site of impact, a significant predictor of later olfactory performance. In summary, while there was evidence of recovery of OD over time in pediatric TBI, the majority of children with severe OD did not show any recovery. In light of limited recovery of function for more severely affected children, the importance of appropriate education and implementation of rehabilitation management strategies is highlighted.


anosmia; olfactory dysfunction; pediatric TBI; recovery

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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