[Skip to Content]
Visit us on Facebook Visit us on FacebookVisit us on Twitter Visit us on TwitterVisit our RSS Feed View our RSS Feed
Blogadillo December 14th, 2018
CategoriesCategoriesCategories Contact UsContact Us ArchivesArchives Region/OfficeRegion SearchSearch

Aug

23

Date prong graphic

Do You Smell That?

Posted by on August 23rd, 2018 Posted in: Aging, Blog, NIH, Research


Child Smelling Flowers

“Child Smelling Flowers.” By Annie Spratt via Unsplash.com, May 14, 2018, CCO.

Have you ever been around someone who insists they smell an odor that you and others are unable to smell?  There’s a scientific name to describe this phenomenon:  phantom odor perception.

A new study from the National Institutes of Health determined nearly 1 in 15 Americans have phantom odor perception.  This conclusion was drawn after researchers examined over 7,000 participants who were all asked if they occasionally smelled an unpleasant odor.  Although a distortion in the sense of smell might not seem like a serious medical condition, smells can alert to danger such as smoke, gas leaks, or spoiled food.

Phantom odor perception is not the only potential explanation for a change in the ability to smell.  Other potential causes include:

  • A stuffy nose caused by the cold or flu
  • Allergies
  • Nasal polyps
  • Certain medications
  • Cancer treatments
  • Head injury

Judith A. Cooper, Ph.D., acting director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) said, “Problems with the sense of smell are often overlooked, despite their importance. They can have a big impact on appetite, food preferences, and the ability to smell danger signals such as fire, gas leaks, and spoiled food.”

Like NNLM SCR on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Image of the author ABOUT nnlmscr


Email author View all posts by
Funded under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012345 with the University of North Texas Health Science Center - Gibson D. Lewis Library, and awarded by the DHHS, NIH, National Library of Medicine.

NNLM and NATIONAL NETWORK OF LIBRARIES OF MEDICINE are service marks of the US Department of Health and Human Services | Copyright | Download PDF Reader