Smell & Taste Symposium 2022
Fifth Sense recently partnered with the University of East Anglia (UEA) to host a Smell and Taste Disorders Symposium to highlight the challenges faced by patients, the clinical management of smell and taste disorders and latest advances in research. We launched the Fifth Sense Research Hub in tandem with the event. The symposium, aimed at healthcare professionals and researchers, was held both in-person at the University and virtually. It was chaired by Professor Carl Philpott, Fifth Sense trustee and Director of UK’s first NHS smell and taste clinic and our CEO and founder Duncan Boak.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, smell and taste disorders have come to the forefront. However, despite the growing prevalence, patients can often feel the impact of their condition is not recognised, and there is a need for improved education and training of clinicians. The event included perspectives from patients living with different types of smell and taste disorders alongside approaches taken by clinicians in managing these conditions. Latest advances in the field of smell and taste research include the launch of our top ten research priorities gathered through our Smell and Taste Disorders Priority Setting Partnership with the James Lind Alliance. The event was attended by an international body of patients, clinicians, journalists and research personnel.
Mr Simon Gane, Consultant ENT Surgeon UCL, gave a talk on the olfactory function in health and disease. Miss Lisha McClelland Consultant ENT surgeon University of Birmingham and Miss Katie Whitcroft, senior ENT registrar from Yorkshire gave talks on history taking/olfactory disorder questionnaires and psychophysical smell testing respectively. The event also included a talk from Professor Claire Hopkins, Professor of Rhinology, King’s College London, on COVID 19 related olfactory dysfunction.
Professor Philpott led a panel discussion entitled ‘Managing olfactory disorders’, with all guest speakers including Dr. Sami, Associate Professor in dementia research, Norwich Medical School, Dr. Sara Bengtsson, Associate Professor in psychology, Developmental Sciences, University of East Anglia who also gave talks on the role of functional MR imaging and Olfactory Event Related Potentials in smell and taste research along with Dr. Caroline Huart, ENT Surgeon, Brussels and research clinician in Olfactology.
The other sessions highlighted recent advances in smell and taste research and included our plans for the new Fifth Sense Research Hub, which has been established to take forward the research priorities resulting from the Priority Setting Partnership. These have been split into six core themes and have been assigned experts in the area. These include:
- Basic Science – Pathophysiology of disease: led by Steven Munger Ph.D Director of the University of Florida Center for Smell and Taste.
- Stem cell and Regenerative research: led by Prof James Schwob, Professor of Developmental, Molecular & Chemical Biology at Tufts University School of Medicine and Bradley Goldstein MD, Associate Professor of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine
- Education and training: led by Mr Irfan Syed, Dr Devina Maru (National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow, Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care Directorate, GP Specialty Registrar, London), Mr Sankalp Sunkaraneni, Consultant ENT Surgeon, Royal Surrey County Hospital
- Clinical trials and epidemiology: led by Prof Carl Philpott, Professor of Rhinology & Olfactology, University of East Anglia
- Technology and digital health: led by Marianna Obrist, Professor of Multisensory Interfaces, University College London
- Supportive care: led by Rachel Herz Ph.D, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour, Brown University and part-time Faculty at Boston College and Dr Lorenzo Stafford, Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth.
“This event was about a partnership with patients through Fifth Sense, to make their voices heard and to set the scene for empathic management of smell and taste disorders. It also provided a platform to launch the outcomes of the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting partnership” Prof Carl Philpott.
On the back of the success of this year’s symposium, it is hoped that in May 2023, a 2 day symposium will be hosted at UEA to allow a greater breadth of topics to be covered: UK National Smell Symposium | ENT & Audiology News (entandaudiologynews.com)
Please contact K.Tate@uea.ac.uk for further details.
We would like to say a huge thank you to our volunteers Carl, Chessie, June, Lucy and Ruth for participating in the event and sharing their personal stories.
Report by Kala Kumaresan, Clinical Research Fellow, James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk UK.