Head injury may cause loss of smell, anxiety

While it is already known that people who suffer a major concussion can lose their sense of smell temporarily, researchers have found that even minor head injuries may lead to olfactory and anxiety problems.

The study found that even minor accidents like falling off a bike with a helmet on, taking a tumble on the ski slopes, slipping on ice and hitting one's head can provoke the same kind of problems as in major head injuries.

"It's important that patients report any loss of smell, because it's not something their general practitioners normally ask about," she said.

For the study, the researchers compared 20 hospital patients who had mild concussions with 22 who had broken limbs but had no concussion.

Within 24 hours of their accident, just over half of those with mild concussions had a reduced sense of smell versus five per cent of the patients with broken bones.

A year later, although their sense of smell was back to normal, the first group of patients had significantly more anxiety than the control group.

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