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For some who have lost their sense of smell, a once popular asthma drug could help
Date:4/7/2008

SAN DIEGO, CA -- Despite the fact that millions of Americans are believed to have lost their sense of smell (hyposmia), no effective method exists to treat many of these people. That is due in part to the fact that the causes of smell loss are varied and complex, ranging from chronic allergies, viral infection, head injury, or no apparent reason at all. Some seven percent of Americans have lost their sense of smell and with it their ability to enjoy the fragrance of flowers, foods and beverages. For individuals whose smell loss relates the biochemistry of two common proteins, there is some good news. A team of researchers has found that a drug used long ago to help asthmatics can benefit some with smell loss.

The Study

The results are contained in a study entitled Effective Treatment of Smell Loss With Theophylline. It was conducted by Robert I. Henkin, Irina Velicu and Loren Schmidt all of the Taste and Smell Clinic, Center for Molecular Nutritional Sensory Disorders, Washington, DC. Dr. Henkin will present his team's findings at the 121st annual meeting of the American Physiological Society (APS; www.the-APS.org/press), part of the Experimental Biology 2008 scientific conference.

A total of 369 individuals were enrolled in the study. Of the total, 314 had smell loss and 55 did not; 169 were female and 145 were male. The participants were 53 years of age - 1 year. Smell loss was measured using standard testing procedures to determine the type, degree and character of smell loss. These included objective smell function (psychophysical) and subjective (quantitative evaluation of smell loss) methods. Blood measures and smell function were evaluated regularly throughout the study.

The researchers had previously discovered that decreased levels of two proteins V cyclic AMP (cAMP) and cyclic GMP (cGMP) -- in nasal mucus inhibited growth and development of olfactory receptor c
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Contact: Donna Krupa
DKrupa@the-aps.org
619-525-6202
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

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