Studies at Monells Chemosensory Clinical Research Center (CCRC) have significantly advanced understanding of taste and smell disorders. Not currently in operation, the CCRC functioned for over 20 years as a hub where scientists worked to characterize and understand the causes of taste and smell disorders and to develop treatment strategies.
Through clinical research projects, scientists at Monell are gaining insight into the significance of taste and smell in human health and disease.
About two-thirds of those who contacted the Clinic reported problems with both taste and smell, while another 20 percent presented with only an olfactory complaint. The remainder reported problems only with taste.
For about 15 percent of research participants, tests did not reveal any major abnormalities or dysfunction. The large majority of the remaining participants were identified as having a smell dysfunction, one of the most well-known of which is anosmia, or smell loss. Taste dysfunctions were identified in a smaller number, and a few research participants had both taste and smell disorders.
Many individuals who thought they had a problem with taste (or flavor perception) were surprised to learn that the problem actually involves their sense of smell. There are relatively few forms of smell or taste problems for which the underlying cause is known and treatable. This is due in part because we still are learning about how these senses function in the healthy state and how this then goes awry with chemosensory dysfunctions such as anosmia.
One type of smell loss that may respond to treatment is caused by inflammatory disease in the nose or sinuses. Therefore, if you have experienced a loss of smell, it is important for you to seek evaluation by an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) to determine if you may benefit from treatment.
We will attempt to provide information regarding smell and taste disorders. Please use the Contact Us page to submit your question and include as much detail as possible about the nature of your disorder and its history. If your query concerns smell loss, you should first review our section on anosmia.
General information about smell and taste disorders can be obtained at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, a site maintained by the National Institutes of Health.