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Prevalence and correlates of parosmia and phantosmia among smell disorders

Pellegrino, R., Mainland, J. D., Kelly, C. E., Parker, J. K. ORCID: and Hummel, T. (2021) Prevalence and correlates of parosmia and phantosmia among smell disorders. Chemical Senses, 46. bjab046. ISSN 1464-3553

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/chemse/bjab046


Among those many individuals who suffer from a reduced odor sensitivity (hyposmia/anosmia) some individuals also experience disorders that lead to odor distortion, such as parosmia (i.e., distorted odor with a known source), or odor phantoms (i.e., odor sensation without an odor source). We surveyed a large population with at least one olfactory disorder (N = 2031) and found that odor distortions were common (46%), with respondents reporting either parosmia (19%), phantosmia (11%), or both (16%). In comparison to respondents with hyposmia or anosmia, respondents with parosmia were more likely to be female, young, and suffering from post-viral olfactory loss (p < 0.001), while respondents with phantosmia were more likely to be middle-aged (p < 0.01) and experiencing symptoms caused by head trauma (p < 0.01). In addition, parosmia, compared to phantosmia or anosmia/hyposmia, was most prevalent 3 months to a year after olfactory symptom onset (p < 0.001), which coincides with the timeline of physiological recovery. Finally, we observed that the frequency and duration of distortions negatively affects quality of life, with parosmia showing a higher range of severity than phantosmia (p < 0.001). Previous research often grouped these distortions together, but our results show that they have distinct patterns of demographics, medical history, and loss in quality of life.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Food Research Group
ID Code:102256
Publisher:Oxford University Press


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