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August 20, 1932


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1932;99(8):627-633. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02740600019005

In spite of the tremendous advance made in almost every branch of otolaryngology, the knowledge of olfaction remains, with few exceptions, the same as it was thirty years ago. There are many reasons for this, one of the most important being that it is possible to investigate this sense only from a subjective standpoint. Olfaction being regarded as a nonimportant sense, few rhinologists are sufficiently interested to publish case reports and interesting observations and to follow these with postmortem examinations. Until this is done, the true story of olfaction will never be written.

There is no absolute norm in olfaction, as it may be determined either in different persons or in the same person at different times. There is a constant physiologic variation in the acuity of the sense of smell as well as a great variation in the sense feeling produced by an odor in different persons at the