Question: I fell and I hit head on radiator, blacked out, hospital was vague and unhelpful, found that I have loss of smell and taste from trauma. Can you help? I have some taste of salt. It depresses me. Nobody seems to know anything about this, have any serious ideas. Everybody wants to meet me and charge for consultations. Stupid I am not. But tired of USA doctors. In other countries they will at least say “nothing known about cures for this” but here I get “buy this, eat that” – trivia, as if it were a minor issue.
Answer: Loss of the sense of smell (anosmia) is a major problem, as you well know. It is important for our safety (spoiled foods, smoke, gas) and for our enjoyment of every day life. Loss of smell can be a predictor of neurologic diseases, such as Parkison’s and early dementia.
We at the NY Sinus Center, take the loss of smell as a serious problem and are working to help people like you with the loss of smell and taste.
It is important to find the cause of one’s loss of smell- in this case it seems likely to be the head trauma.
Recent research has shown that early treatment may be beneficial. Studies have shown that in some cases, treatment of sinus disease may help and prednisone early in the loss may be effective. Some newer therapies that we are using include theophylline nasal sprays and smell therapy. They may be effective in later stages, but as time goes on, any treatment is less likely to help.
I wish we could say that a particular therapy will be effective in any individual- specifically in your problem.
I am attaching a power point of a recent continuing medical education lecture I gave to Ear Nose and Throat specialists on this problem.
I hope this clears things up.
Robert Pincus MD
Co-Director NY Sinus Center.