Abnormalities of taste and smell after head trauma


Abnormalities of taste and smell were studied in 29 patients after head trauma. These abnormalities included decreased taste acuity (hypogeusia), a distortion of taste acuity (dysgeusia), decreased smell acuity (hyposmia), and a distortion of smell acuity (dysosmia). This syndrome can occur even after minimal head trauma and can begin months after the moment of injury. The patients exhibited a significant decrease in total serum zinc concentration (patients, 77 ± 3 μg/100 ml, mean ± 1 SEM, vs controls, 99 ± 2 μg/100 ml, P>0·001) and a significant increase in total serum copper concentrations (113 ± 4 μg/100 ml vs 100 ± 2 μg/100 ml, P<0·001) compared with control subjects. Symptoms of hypogeusia, dysgeusia, and dysosmia are frequent sequelae of head injury and are important to the patients and to their care after trauma.

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