Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Nose May Not Know What It's Missing

I thought it would be appropriate to do a blog about smell/taste since that is what we are currently covering in class. This article talks about a man, Dr. Ronald DeVere, who lost 70% of his sense of smell because of a viral infection. This loss also affected his sense of taste; in recent years his sense of taste and smell have recovered but not completely. His experience inspired him to open a clinic and to write a book to help people with smell and taste disorders.

DeVere had help from his sister-in-law with the book; as a cook, she included recipes that help people with smell and taste disorders to enjoy cooking and eating food. The article talks of how taste and smell may decline in accuracy with age but is often unrecognized. There is hyposmia, a reduced ability to detect certain odors; anosmia, an inability to detect any odors at all; or dysosmia, in which pleasant odors can smell foul or vice versa. The article states that loss of smell or taste can occur from infections or severe head injuries. Injuries can cause damage to olfactory nerves that can regenerate but often do not reconnect properly to the brain.

The article has tips for epople who cannot smell very well; make sure to have smoke detectors as well as a natural gas or propane detector. Date perishable foods and keep them in the fridge. Set a timer when baking and check often to make sure nothing is burning.

This article reminded me of my brother-in-law, Zach, as my first post did. He had a terrible skate boarding accident and suffered severe head injuries and even flat lined a couple times. His entire face had to be reconstructed and he lost his sense of smell as a result. He claims his sense of taste is not affected too much. This is probably because some of his nerves regenerated and probably reconnected to the brain correctly. He also says he has "phantom smell syndrome," sometimes he feels as though he can smell certain odors if they are really strong. He says bleach stings his nose and it is as though he can just barely smell it.

1 comment:

  1. I never realized an infection could damage smell and taste for good. I also assumed that it was a temporary side effect due to congestion or medication.