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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Olfactory disorder in motor neuron disease.

In Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease there is profound disorder of olfaction. The extent to which this modality is involved in motor neuron disease (MND) has been studied little. To address this further we assessed olfaction by three methods-a smell identification test ("UPSIT") in 58 patients and 135 controls; olfactory-evoked response (OEP) to H2S in 15 patients, and pathological examination of olfactory bulbs obtained from 8 cadavers. It was found that smell identification compared with the controls was slightly worse overall in the MND group as a whole, but only the bulbar patients scored significantly less on the UPSIT. Patients displayed a subtle defect in cheese odor recognition. OEPs were normal in 9 subjects and delayed in 1 subject. The remaining 5 OEPs were unsuccessful. Histopathological studies of olfactory bulbs showed excess lipofuscin deposition in all 8 cases examined, indicating subclinical neuronal damage. Olfactory neurons with a degree of antioxidant defect may be more susceptible to cellular damage than other neuronal groups because of their direct relationship to environmental agents. Overall we found the degree of olfactory dysfunction in MND to be mild and in contrast with the marked changes described by others.[1]


  1. Olfactory disorder in motor neuron disease. Hawkes, C.H., Shephard, B.C., Geddes, J.F., Body, G.D., Martin, J.E. Exp. Neurol. (1998) [Pubmed]
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