Longitudinal Testing of Olfactory and Gustatory Function in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

PloS one

PubMedID: 28107525

Uecker FC, Olze H, Kunte H, Gerz C, Göktas Ö, Harms L, Schmidt FA. Longitudinal Testing of Olfactory and Gustatory Function in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(1):e0170492.
BACKGROUND
The aim of the study was to investigate changes of the olfactory and gustatory capacity in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

METHODOLOGY
20 MS patients were tested longitudinally for 3 years after initial testing. The Threshold Discrimination Identification test (TDI) was used for subjective olfactometry. Objective olfactometry was performed by registering olfactory evoked potentials (OEP) by EEG. The Taste Strip Test (TST) was used for gustatory testing.

RESULTS
45% of the patients showed olfactory dysfunction in the follow-up TDI test and 50% showed delayed OEP´s. 20% of the patients showed gustatory dysfunction on follow-up visit. The patients showed mild disease activity with 0,3 ± 0,5 relapses over the testing period and no significant change of their olfactory and gustatory capacity. The olfactory capacity for the discrimination of odors correlated inversely with the number of relapses (r = -0.5, p = 0.05). The patients were aware of their olfactory deficit.

CONCLUSIONS
Olfactory and gustatory dysfunction is a symptom in MS patients and may be a useful parameter to estimate disease progression in MS patients. As the discrimination of odors is processed in higher central regions of the central nervous system (CNS), the results suggest that olfactory dysfunction could be due to CNS damage.