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The incidence of anosmia after traumatic brain injury: the SHEFBIT cohort Main Image

The incidence of anosmia after traumatic brain injury: the SHEFBIT cohort

Fri 20 Jul 2018

While anosmia is common after Traumatic Brain Injury(TBI) (prevalence 4%–68%),studies differ in the associations found with other variables.

Aims: To assess the incidence of anosmia within a large, mixed TBI cohort and examine relationships with other injury or demographic features, including depression and global outcome(GOSE).

Design, Subjects and Setting: 774 consecutive TBI admissions over 2 years, assessed within a specialist neurorehabilitation clinic.

Methods: All patients assessed at 6–8 weeks and 1 year. Tools included the Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale(GOSE), Rivermead Head Injury Follow-up Questionnaire, Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Score. Olfactory function assessed with sensitivity to coffee granules.

Results: The overall incidence of anosmia was 19.7%; mild TBI (9.55%), moderate (20.01%), and severe (43.5%). On a logistic regression, features of TBI severity (p < 0.001 (95% CI 0.098–0.438)), medical comorbidities (p = 0.026 (95% CI 0.301–0.927)) and depression (p = 0.006 (95% CI 1.202–2.981)) were significant. Sixty percent of patients with anosmia at 1 year were found to be clinically depressed, compared to 36% of patients without anosmia.

Conclusion: In the largest prospective study of post-TBI anosmia, the incidence increased with TBI severity and other medical illness. The presence of anosmia should also raise the clinical suspicion of depression.

Reference: Singh, R., Humphries, T., Mason, S., Lecky, F., Dawson, J., & Sinha, S. (2018). The incidence of anosmia after traumatic brain injury: the SHEFBIT cohort. Brain Injury, 32, 9.

'Anosmia' is the scientific term for 'loss of smell'. For more information on this, including coping tips, download the factsheet Loss of taste and smell after brain injury below. 


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