Can You Smell The Roses?
Whats in a smell? Well, if you cant distinguish the fragrance of a flower from cigar smoke, or the freshness of a lemon from a cut onion, you dont need to be told how disturbing it is. But for some of the 15 million Americans, the majority of them over sixty, there is now good news.
One of the contributing factors to an impaired sense of smell in some people has been identified, and it is easily treatable. Its zinc deficiency. By adding large doses of that mineral to the diet, the deficiency can be quickly and easily corrected. Natural sources of zinc include whole grains, brewers yeast, liver, and nuts.
One of the leading research centers in scent loss is at the Center for Molecular Nutrition and Sensory Disorders at the Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. People from across the country come to the center to find a cure. Compounding their difficulty is the fact that this sensory loss often drastically reduces the capacity to taste foods. Furthermore, about a quarter of the patients also report decreased sexual pleasure since losing their sense of smell.
So, how do researchers sniff out their problem? First patients are instructed to take a whiff from bottles presented in groups of three; then theyre asked to identify the one bottle in each group that contains a substance different from the other two. In this way, the extent of the scent loss of each individual can be measured. The keenness of a persons sense of taste is then tested by placing drops of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter liquids on their tongues.