Smell and taste disorders after a traffic accident

Keiko Soma, Takanobu Kunihiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We analyzed 107 patients (59 males and 48 females, ages ranging from 22 to 72 years, with an average of 45. 9 years) who were victims of traffic accidents. In general, they did not complain of smell or taste disorders. In 70% of the patients, the accidents were associated with a car, and there in many of these collision cases the diagnosis consisted of a post traumatic syndrome like whiplash injury. Tests conducted in these patients to assess smell and taste function. We found smell disorders in 28% of these patients with an intrvenous olfaction test, with an odor stick identification test for Japanese in 45%. As for taste disorders, electrogustometry revealed a disorder in 55%, and a filter-paper disk assay using taste solutions showed a disorder in 76% of our patients. In the cases where a rear-end collision had occurred, the taste threshold significantly increased in comparison with collisions which had occurred from the side. The taste disorder was recognized bilaterally in most patients, but there were few cases of serum zinc deficiency. Imaging rarely revealed any damage to the brain, therefore we were not able to identify a focal lesion. Our results suggested, however, that the central olfactory or gustatory pathway had been damaged by acceleration/deceleration forces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1100
Number of pages10
JournalPractica Oto-Rhino-Laryngologica
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Nov


  • Post traumatic syndrome
  • Smell disorder
  • Taste disorder
  • Traffic accident
  • Whiplash injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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