Studies at Monells Chemosensory Clinical Research Center (CCRC) have significantly advanced understanding of taste and smell disorders. Continuously funded since 1986, the Monell CCRC represents the only chemosensory clinical research center currently supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Through clinical research projects, scientists at Monell are gaining insight into the significance of taste and smell in human health and disease.
Most patients currently seen at the CCRC are recruited to meet the demands of specific research protocols.
About two-thirds of those who contact the Clinic report problems with both taste and smell, while another 20% present with only an olfactory complaint. The remainder report problems only with taste.
For about 15 percent of patients, tests do not reveal any major abnormalities or dysfunction. The large majority of the remaining patients are diagnosed with a smell dysfunction, one of the most well-known of which is anosmia, or smell loss. Taste dysfunctions are identified in a smaller number, and a few patients have both taste and smell disorders.
Many individuals who thought they had a problem with taste (or flavor perception) are 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. Research such as this forms one of the key components of Monell’s mission.
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.
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.