PD and Your Sense of Smell

People with Parkinson’s have been shown to have an impaired sense of smell. In fact, the sense of smell can become impaired up to four years before the onset of PD symptoms. Strange, eh? I can testify to this personally.

The theory is that the olfactory bulb — the unit that sends information about smells back to the rest of the brain — is somehow involved in the process of making new cells in the nervous system. Scientists believe that certain kinds of stem cells travel a raceway from the back of the brain all the way forward to the end in one’s beak. Problems with this system start to show up around the same time that problems develop in the part of the brain affected by PD. That’s the idea, anyway.

So here comes a study of the sense of smell in people who have had DBS surgery (like me). It turns out that the sense of smell improves in people who had DBS, versus those who are sticking with meds. This adds to the allure of other random factoids about DBS supposedly having an ability to slow the otherwise steady progression of the disease. Here’s hoping. This article is a tough slog, but you can just skip down to the last page for a relatively clear summary:

Olfactory Symptoms in Parkinsons on ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.