the origin of the loss of smell finally explained?

Loss of smell (or anosmia) is one of the most common and reliable symptoms in Covid-19 positive cases.

Even if the mechanisms of the loss of smell after two years of the pandemic are certainly better known, there are still some gray areas in the long term when it comes to this loss.

American researchers have carefully analyzed certain organs of a cohort of 23 people who died from Covid-19 and a control group of 14 dead whose deaths were not linked to the virus.

Their conclusions are clear: Patients with Covid-19 are more likely to have damaged blood vessels and axons, a nerve fiber that carries electrical signals between neurons in the olfactory bulb, that region of the brain that handles the sense of smell.

More damaged nerve fibers

In detail, the degeneration of these axons was 60% more severe and the microscopic blood vessels 36% more severe in patients who died from Covid than in people who died without contracting the virus.

This study is an important step in understanding the cases of anosmia in people with long covid (around 340,000 people out of the 3 million French affected by this disability). However, some questions remain unanswered.

In the study published this Monday in the journal JAMA Neurologythe authors stated that the lesions caused in the olfactory bulb were not directly caused by the covid, but could be the result of virus-induced inflammation in the same area.

Necessary olfactory rehabilitation

People who experience anosmia several weeks or months after their infection may benefit from a consultation with an otolaryngologist and then undergo olfactory rehabilitation. It is also advisable to smell daily by smelling your morning coffee or another familiar smell.

Experimental treatments are also being carried out, such as the implantation of plasma-soaked sponges in the noses of patients with anosmia.

Although the effectiveness of this therapy has yet to be proven, some have gradually regained their sense of smell. The most likely hypothesis for this gradual healing is that plasma helps rebuild damaged blood vessels.

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