March 9, 2021

S2:E1 Brooke | Parosmia I: When Smells are No Longer Safe

We're kicking off Season 2 with a series about parosmia, perhaps the most odd and startling long-hauler symptom to date. Parosmia is dysfunctional smell detection characterized by the inability of the brain to correctly identify an odor's "natural" smell. Instead, the natural odor is usually transformed into an unpleasant aroma, typically a "'burned,' 'rotting,' 'fecal,' or 'chemical' smell".  Pre-pandemic this was a symptom often found in patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment or persons recovering from head trauma. Its current link to coronavirus confounds doctors and scientists as there is no immediate cure.

Brooke is our first guest and she has been struggling with her symptoms for 10 months. It is quite an emotional interview as she breaks down what her day to day life is like living with parosmia. She recounts how she may have gotten it, what she can and cannot consume, and shares resources that have helped her along the way (which are posted below).

AbScent is a UK registered charity supporting people who are experiencing the distressing effects of smell loss. AbScent offers information, support and practical advice for people living with smell disorders. (On March 15th we are releasing an episode with Chrissi Kelly, the founder of AbScent, who will share more about her research and studies into smell disorders.)

The Smell and Taste Association of North America (STANA) advocates for funding for research on smell and taste disorders and collaborates with individuals living with these chemosensory disorders, healthcare professionals, and institutions to provide evidence-based education, resources, and networking opportunities.

The Monell Center for Advancing Discovery in Taste & Smell - their mission is to improve health and well-being by advancing the scientific understanding of taste, smell, and related senses.