Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Costanzo: In this study we found that individuals with varying degrees olfactory impairment have an increased risk of experiencing a hazardous event. Those with complete loss (anosmia) were three times more likely to experience an event than those with normal olfactory function. Factors such as age,sex, and race were found to affect an individual’s risk.
Medical Research: What was most surprising about the results?
Dr. Costanzo: We expected that among the impaired population older adults would have a higher incidence of hazardous events. However, when comparing two age groups (<65 y.o. and >65 y.o.) we found that the younger group had a significantly higher incidence of hazardous events (p=<.001).
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Costanzo: Health care practitioners and public health agencies should consider providing more information and counseling regarding the risks and hazards associated with olfactory impairment. Patients with impaired olfactory function should be aware of their environment, practice safety measures, and make necessary adjustments to their activities of daily living (ADL’s).
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Costanzo: Additional studies are needed to determine the efficacy of patient education and counseling on reducing risk and hazards associated with olfactory impairment.