In a cohort study evaluating functional brain connectivity in adults with postviral olfactory dysfunction before and after olfactory training,1 published in this issue of JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, our research group enrolled a random sample of 20 age-matched and sex-matched healthy controls to undergo functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. The control participants were required to be normosmic as determined by the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test. Of the 20 healthy participants, 3 (15%) had incidental findings (IFs) deemed important enough to report to the individuals for clinical follow-up. One of the individuals had a parapharyngeal mass with enlarged nearby lymph nodes and subsequently underwent otolaryngologic evaluation and surgery. The other 2 participants had cavernomas. These participants were made aware of the potential associated risks (eg, bleeding, seizures) and were advised to follow up with a neurologist or neurosurgeon. Furthermore, several of the other control participants had comments in their radiology reports, such as mild sinus disease, age-related changes, and other findings.
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Peterson AM, Jiramongkolchai P, Piccirillo JF. Incidentalomas and the Ethical Dilemma Behind Imaging in Clinical Research. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021;147(6):497–498. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2021.0133
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