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J Neurotrauma. 2018 Nov 15;35(22):2641-2652. doi: 10.1089/neu.2017.5230. Epub 2018 Jul 23.

Olfactory Training in Post-Traumatic Smell Impairment: Mild Improvement in Threshold Performances: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial.

Author information

1
1 Rhinology Unit and Smell Clinic, ENT Department, Hospital Clínic , Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain .
2
2 Clinical and Experimental Respiratory Immunoallergy (IRCE), August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS) , Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain .
3
3 Neuroradiology Unit, Department of Radiology and Imaging Diagnostic Center, Hospital Clínic , Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain .
4
4 Brain Injury Unit, Guttmann Institute Foundation and Neurorehabilitation Hospital, Autonomous University of Barcelona , Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain .
5
5 Germans Trias i Pujol Science Health Institute Foundation , Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain .
6
6 Center for Biomedical Research Network in Respiratory Diseases (CIBERES) , Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain .
7
7 Barcelona Institute of Global Health, Hospital Clínic - University of Barcelona , Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain .

Abstract

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can be associated with partial or total smell loss. Recent studies have suggested that olfactory outcome can be positively modulated after olfactory training (OT). This study's aim was to investigate OT's potential role in smell recovery after TBI-induced olfactory loss. A prospective, randomized, and controlled study was developed. Patients with TBI-induced olfactory dysfunction (n = 42) were randomized into an experimental group with OT and a control group without (nOT). OT was performed twice daily with a six odor training set during 12 weeks. Olfactory loss was assessed using subjective olfactometry (Barcelona Smell Test [BAST] 24), a visual analogue scale (VAS), and n-butanol threshold (n-BTt) at baseline at 4, 12, and 24 weeks. Additionally, patients underwent MRI of the olfactory brain and olfactory bulbs (OB). Based on the MRI results, an overall score (0-16) was developed to associate the structural neurological damage with olfactory outcomes. The primary outcome was the change in olfactory measurements (VAS and BAST-24) between baseline and 12 weeks. The secondary outcome was the association of the MRI score with olfactory outcomes at baseline, and the impact on quality of life (QoL). After 12 weeks of training, OT patients showed a significant improvement in n-BTt (0.6 ± 1.7 OT vs. -0.6 ± 1.8 nOT, p < 0.05), but not in the smell VAS and BAST-24 scores. Olfactory outcomes (VAS, BAST-24, and n-BTt) were significantly associated with MRI structural findings (p < 0.001), but not with the OB volume or olfactory sulcus length. The present study suggests that 12 weeks of OT mildly improves the olfactory threshold in TBI, whereas the overall MRI score may be used as an imaging marker of olfactory dysfunction and disease severity in TBI patients.

KEYWORDS:

BAST-24; MRI; OT; TBI; olfaction; smell loss

PMID:
29790420
DOI:
10.1089/neu.2017.5230
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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