Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Smell Evaluation at UPenn Taste and Smell Clinic

Spent a whole day doing an Evaluation at the University of Pennsylvania Taste & Smell Clinic.  They put a gustometer, a meter that  by provoking metallic like tastes on the tongue.  They gave me two trials on a variety of different spots of the tongue and I was to pick the trial that tasted the most metallic.  My electrogustometric thresholds on the left and right sides of the tongue were elevated.

CSIRO, an Australian research facility uses a specialized gastrometer to measure people's reactions to
  • able to deliver mixtures of up to six aromas in air
  • able to deliver mixtures of up to seven tastes in water
  • works with natural methods of sniffing, sipping therefore works with existing learning and expectations
  • can change concentrations of flavour and aroma components between samples and even within a sample
  • can integrate with other measuring equipment such as EEG to measure brain waves and PTR-MS to measure aroma on breath during eating as well as spectrometers to measure the exact competition.
There's a new gustometer recently publicized over at Pubmed that  evokes "gustatory evoked potentials" by provoking metallic like tastes on the tongue and measures galvanic skin reactions (kind of like how biofeedback works).

At any rate, back to my eval.  Next, they checked airflow for  acoustic rhinometry and nasal resistance with an anterior rhinomanometry.    Nothing new there.  My airflow is just fine thanks to sinus surgery.

I did a scratch and sniff test (UPSIT) of a variety of odors from everything from paint thinner to cinnamon and chocolate.  The UPSIT is the gold standard for smell.  The UPSIT showed mild microsmia (25th percentile for my age aand gender). 

Also, I sniffed bottles of similar odors to check magnitude of smell.   Detection thresholds for rose-like oderant phenyl ethyl alcohol were elevated as well).

I also did the Odor Memory Test and was borderline normal.  The Odor Memory Test involved sniffing something and then counting backwards by threes from 280.

I also did a whole mouth  tasting of a variety of samples ranging from very salty, sour, sweet and bitter.  Nothing much was found there.

At the end of all of this, Dr. Doty found that there was severe loss of smell unaccompanied by loss of taste per se.  His feeling is that my loss of smell is probably due to damage from olfactory membranes as a result of a  URI (upper respiratory infection). 

His recommendation is an over the countere antioxidant alpha lipoic acid 4-600 mg/day and maybe trying to smell different spices and flavoring agents twice a day  to wake up the neurons.

On a side note, my tinnitus really flared up later that night.  I will see my audiologist tomorrow and find out if there is anything to this.

Tasted drops on different parts of the tongue to see if there is any massive differential on parts of the tongue.

Also, drank different mixtures of varying strengths and tasted