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May 1991

Smell and Taste Disorders, A Study of 750 Patients From the University of Pennsylvania Smell and Taste Center

Author Affiliations

From the Smell and Taste Center, Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Human Communication, School of Medicine (Drs Deems, Doty, Kimmelman, Mester, Moore-Gillon, Settle, and Snow); Department of Oral Medicine, School of Dental Medicine (Dr Brightman); and the Department of Statistics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (Dr Shaman). Dr Kimmelman is now with the Department of Otolaryngology, New York (NY) Eye and Ear Infirmary. Dr Moore-Gillon was a visiting scientist at the Smell and Taste Center from the Department of Otolaryngology, St George's Hospital, London, England.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117(5):519-528. doi:10.1001/archotol.1991.01870170065015

• Smell and taste disorders are common in the general population, yet little is known about their nature or cause. This article describes a study of 750 patients with complaints of abnormal smell or taste perception from the University of Pennsylvania Smell and Taste Center, Philadelphia. Major findings suggest that: chemosensory dysfunction influences quality of life; complaints of taste loss usually reflect loss of smell function; upper respiratory infection, head trauma, and chronic nasal and paranasal sinus disease are the most common causes of the diminution of the sense of smell, with head trauma having the greatest loss; depression frequently accompanies chemosensory distortion; low body weight accompanies burning mouth syndrome; estrogens protect against loss of the sense of smell in postmenopausal women; zinc therapy may provide no benefit to patients with chemosensory dysfunction; and thyroid hormone function is associated with oral sensory distortion. The findings are discussed in relation to management of patients with chemosensory disturbances.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991; 117:519-528)

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