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Acupuncture may be an effective treatment for post-viral infection loss of smell
Date:3/31/2010

This release is available in Chinese.

Alexandria, VA Traditional Chinese acupuncture (TCA), where very thin needles are used to stimulate specific points in the body to elicit beneficial therapeutic responses, may be an effective treatment option for patients who suffer from persistent post- viral olfactory dysfunction (PVOD), according to new research in the April 2010 issue of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.

Olfactory dysfunction can arise from a variety of causes and can profoundly influence a patient's quality of life. The sense of smell determines the flavor of foods and beverages and also serves as an early warning system for the detection of environmental hazards, such as spoiled food, leaking natural gas, smoke, or airborne pollutants. The loss or distortions of smell sensation can adversely influence food preference, food intake, and appetite.

Approximately 2 million Americans experience some type of olfactory dysfunction. One of the most frequent causes of loss of smell in adults is an upper respiratory tract infection (URI). Patients usually complain of smell loss following a viral URI. The smell loss is most commonly partial, and reversible. However, occasionally patients may also present with parosmia (a distortion of the sense of smell), phantosmia (smelling things that aren't there), or permanent damage of the olfactory system.

To date, there is no validated pharmacotherapy for PVOD, but attempts have been made to establish a standardized treatment. In the literature, systemic and topical steroids as well as vitamin B supplements, caroverine, alpha lipoic acid, and other drugs were used to treat patients. The researchers point out that in addition to these treatments, complementary and alternative medicines are currently being employed by many patients on their own, and that exploration into the
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Contact: Jessica Mikulski
newsroom@entnet.org
703-535-3762
American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery
Source:Eurekalert

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