A recent study showed how we can fully restore the olfactory sense after a cold, during which nasal constriction prevents us from smelling even the most intense smells.
An impaired sense of smell is a common symptom of a cold. Here’s how we can overcome this problem more easily.
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The study, conducted by a team from Northwestern University, prevented 14 patients from breathing through their nose for a week. Blocking the nostrils only happened during the day, while at night the patients could breathe normally.
How to regain your sense of smell after a cold: what happens at the level of the brain?
During airway blockage, intense activity was observed in the frontal lobe. Researchers were surprised to find that, in the absence of olfactory stimuli, the areas of the brain responsible for the sense of smell not only do not stop working, but actually work even harder.
This is explained by the fact that the brain is trying to compensate for the hampered sense of smell by getting ready for when the olfactory sense will be restored. When smell is regained, the cerebral activity in the areas involved returns to normal.
Unlike other senses that are diminished after a period in which they have been limited, our sense of smell has the incredible capacity to be completely restored.
What to look out for if you feel a decrease in your olfactory capacity
If the loss of your sense of smell is sudden, then this may be caused by an upper respiratory tract infection. If you have problems with your ability to smell, the specialist to consult would be an allergist. An allergist can help you determine the cause and regain your ability to smell.
Both allergies and nasal polyps can be treated so that the ability to smell is restored.
If the decrease in your sense of smell does not occur in the context of a cold or respiratory allergy, you should consult a neurologist. A neurologist may recommend that you have a contrast-enhanced brain tomography.