Problems with the sense of smell occur in a significant percentage of people with multiple sclerosis. In fact, smell disorders could even be linked to how severe the disease is and how it is progressing.
Olfactory dysfunction may occur in 20% to 45% of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a literature review.
The review also uncovered findings that suggest a relationship between mood disorders, cognition, and olfactory dysfunction in MS, reported Elizabeth B. Lucassen, MD, of the Pennsylvania State University-Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, and colleagues.
Not only can olfactory dysfunction frequently be measured in MS patients, but both threshold and identification deficits can be observed, the investigators wrote online in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.
They also noted that olfactory dysfunction in MS correlates with disability, as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), and that measurements of olfactory dysfunction may wax and wane with relapses.
“Improved understanding of this phenomenon may elucidate its relationship to disease activity, stage of disease, neurodegeneration, and correlations with other MS co-morbidities,” Lucassen and colleagues said. “Measurements of olfactory dysfunction may provide a clinical surrogate marker for MS disease activity and progression, which would potentially be useful for clinical prognosis, research, and disease management.”
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