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More than smell. COVID-19 is associated with severe impairment of smell, taste, and chemesthesis

Valentina Parma 1 Kathrin Ohla 2 Maria G Veldhuizen 3 Masha Niv 4 Christine E. Kelly 5 Alyssa J Bakke 6 Keiland W Cooper 7 Cédric Bouysset 8 Nicola Pirastu 9 Michele Dibattista 10 Rishemjit Kaur 11 Marco Liuzza 12 Marta y Pepino 13 Veronika Schöpf 14 Veronica Pereda-Loth 15 Shannon B Olsson 16 Richard C Gerkin 17 Paloma Rohlfs Domínguez 18 Javier Albayay 19 Michael C Farruggia 20 Surabhi Bhutani 21 Alexander W Fjaeldstad 22 Ritesh Kumar 23 Anna Menini 24 Moustafa Bensafi 25 Mari Sandell 26, 27 Iordanis Konstantinidis 28 Antonella Di Pizio 29 Federica Genovese 30 Lina Öztürk 3 Thierry Thomas-Danguin 31, 32 Johannes Frasnelli 33 Sanne Boesveldt 34 Özlem Saatci 35 Luis R Saraiva 36 Cailu Lin 30 Sébastien Fiorucci 37 Jérôme Golebiowski 37 Liang-Dar Hwang 38 Hakan Ozdener 30 Maria Dolors Guardia 39 Christophe Laudamiel 40 Marina Ritchie 7 Jan Havlícek 41 Denis Pierron 42 Eugeni Roura 38 Marta Navarro 38 Alissa A Nolden 43 Juyun Lim 44 K L Whitcroft 45 Lauren R Colquitt 30 Camille Ferdenzi 46 Evelyn V Brindha 47 Aytug Altundag 48 Alberto Macchi 49 Alexia Nunez-Parra Zara M Patel 50 Carl M Philpott 51 Barry Smith 52 Johan N. Lundström 30 Carla Mucignat 19 Jane Parker 53 Mirjam van den Brink 54 Michael Schmuker 55 Florian Ph S Fischmeister 56 Thomas Heinbockel 57 Vonnie D C Shields 58 Farhoud Faraji 59 Enrique Santamaria 60 William E A Fredborg 61 Gabriella Morini 62 Jonas K Olofsson 61 Maryam Jalessi 63 Noam Karni Anna d'Errico 64 Rafieh Alizadeh 63 Robert Pellegrino 65 Pablo Meyer 66 Caroline Huart 67 Ben Chen 68 Graciela M Soler 69 Mohammed K Alwashahi 70 Forschungszentrum Jülich Gccr Group 71, 72, 59, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 3, 81, 41, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92 Danielle R. Reed 30 Thomas Hummel 86 Steven D. Munger 93 John E. Hayes 94 
Abstract : Recent anecdotal and scientific reports have provided evidence of a link between COVID-19 and chemosensory impairments such as anosmia. However, these reports have downplayed or failed to distinguish potential effects on taste, ignored chemesthesis, and generally lacked quantitative measurements. Here, we report the development, implementation and initial results of a multi-lingual, international questionnaire to assess self-reported quantity and quality of perception in three distinct chemosensory modalities (smell, taste, and chemesthesis) before and during COVID-19. In the first 11 days after questionnaire launch, 4039 participants (2913 women, 1118 men, 8 other, ages 19-79) reported a COVID-19 diagnosis either via laboratory tests or clinical assessment. Importantly, smell, taste and chemesthetic function were each significantly reduced compared to their status before the disease. Difference scores (maximum possible change +/-100) revealed a mean reduction of smell (-79.7 +/- 28.7, mean +/- SD), taste (-69.0 +/- 32.6), and chemesthetic (-37.3 +/- 36.2) function during COVID-19. Qualitative changes in olfactory ability (parosmia and phantosmia) were relatively rare and correlated with smell loss. Importantly, perceived nasal obstruction did not account for smell loss. Furthermore, chemosensory impairments were similar between participants in the laboratory test and clinical assessment groups. These results show that COVID-19-associated chemosensory impairment is not limited to smell, but also affects taste and chemesthesis. The multimodal impact of COVID-19 and lack of perceived nasal obstruction suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection may disrupt sensory-neural mechanisms.
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Valentina Parma, Kathrin Ohla, Maria G Veldhuizen, Masha Niv, Christine E. Kelly, et al.. More than smell. COVID-19 is associated with severe impairment of smell, taste, and chemesthesis. Chemical Senses, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2020, 45 (7), pp.609-622. ⟨10.1093/chemse/bjaa041⟩. ⟨hal-02911030⟩

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