Sense of smell may reveal disease activity in MS

Published: 10 October 2022

Testing someone’s sense of smell might help doctors to monitor the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new study.

Just under a third of the patients evaluated had signs of loss of smell in clinical evaluations.

Self-reported nasal issues were far less – 93.9% had said they had minimal or no olfactory issues.

It was discovered the amount of impairment in the sense correlated with clinical measures of the disease too, such as MS duration, disability and cognitive performance.

The researchers concluded that dysfunction in the sense of smell could be a useful and easily obtainable marker to monitor in patients to track inflammation and neurodegeneration.

The findings indicate “olfactory dysfunction might be a useful and easily obtainable parameter to monitor patients with regard to inflammation and neurodegeneration in MS,” the researchers wrote, adding that “olfactory function is changing in MS in accordance with disease progression and can be used as a disease marker.”