What can be done if smell loss is detected? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Identifying loss of smell in an older adult may result in strategies to prevent frailty or even preoperative regimens to reduce risk. That’s according to Nicholas Rowan, an otolaryngologist at Johns Hopkins and one author of a study correlating smell loss with frailty.

Rowan: If you can detect smell dysfunction in office with a quick test can you do something to prevent frailty. We’ve looked at some of our surgical patients. We’ve talked about doing what we call “predibilitation.” If you identify the risk factors perhaps you can give folks a sort of tune up before they undergo some stressor or operation.  :18

Rowan says some of this smell loss is just a matter of where the nerve that detects smells is found.

Rowan: Part of it is the olfactory nerve is the only nerve in the entire body that’s just literally just sitting there floating in the breeze. So it is exposed to everything that we’re exposed to. It could be that the number of insults you have is manifested in your smell dysfunction. :14

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.