Friday, July 30, 2010

iPost: Go (broad olfactory abilities) assessment

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Thomas HummelContact Information, Ute Pfetzing1 and Jörn Lötsch2

(1) Smell and Taste Clinic, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Dresden Medical School ("Technische Universität Dresden"), Fetscherstrasse 74, 01307 Dresden, Germany
(2) pharmazentrum Frankfurt/ZAFES, Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Theodor Stern Kai 7, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Received: 25 January 2010  Revised:16 February 2010  Accepted: 22 February 2010  Published online: 16 March 2010

Numerous psychophysical tests of olfactory function have been developed during the last 30 years. However, although most tests provide accurate results, testing typically requires time which is not available in clinical routine. The aim of the present study was to investigate results from a test based on the identification of three odors only. A total of 500 subjects (patients with olfactory loss plus healthy controls) were included. They received (1) detailed olfactory testing, and (2) the 3-item odor identification test, the so-called q-Sticks. On a group level the q-Sticks clearly separated between anosmic, hyposmic, and normosmic subjects. In addition, q-Sticks scores were significantly higher in women compared to men, and in younger compared to older subjects. With regard to a q-Sticks score of 0, the new test had a very high specificity of 96% and a moderate sensitivity of 66%. Although the q-Sticks must not be seen as a replacement of more extensive and, therefore, more accurate olfactory tests, they allow the investigator to identify anosmia with a very high specificity. Considering the test's portability, ease of administration, longevity, and possibility to be used over and over again, it can be expected to find its way into the clinician's routine or screening diagnostic armamentarium.

Keywords  Olfaction - Smell - Anosmia

Contact InformationThomas Hummel
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