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Decrease in sense of smell seen in lupus patients
Date:4/30/2009

The sense of smell is a complex process of the central nervous system that involves specific areas of the brain. In fact, olfactory dysfunction is seen in various central nervous system disorders that involve immune-mediated mechanisms, such as Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that sometimes involves the central nervous system in a condition known as neuropsychiatric SLE (NPSLE). Research in mice has shown that NPSLE-like symptoms and olfactory impairment might be induced by autoimmune mechanisms that target specific areas of the brain, but this has not been explored. A new study assessed olfactory function in SLE patients and found that there is a decrease in the sense of smell compared with healthy controls. The study was published in the May issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/76509746/home).

Led by Yehuda Shoenfeld of Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Tel-Hashomer, Israel, the study involved 50 SLE patients and 50 age and sex-matched controls. Researchers evaluated three levels of olfactory function: threshold (identifying a stick with an odor from among sticks that didn't have an odor); discrimination (differentiating between two smells); and identification of a smell from among four options. The three scores were combined to form a total TDI score.

The results showed significant olfactory deficits in the SLE patients compared with the controls. SLE patients showed a decrease in olfactory function in both the threshold and discrimination tests. In addition, the study found that patients with more active disease and past NPSLE manifestations had significantly lower TDI scores. Past research in mice has shown that injection of antibodies linked to NPSLE manifestations induced olfactory deficit and that these antibodies can
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Contact: Sean Wagner
medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.com
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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