We are hugely indebted to everyone who wrote letters to the James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) in Great Yarmouth, sharing their experiences of anosmia and in so doing, contributing to another important body of research, the Personal Accounts of Anosmia study.
The findings were compiled by Fifth Sense trustee, Professor Carl Philpott and Dr Sally Erskine at James Paget and the University of East Anglia. The exercise was prompted by the sheer volume of letters received over several years. Correspondents went into great detail about their disorder and the manner in which it had impacted their lives. Prof Philpott and Dr Erskine realised that the breadth and depth of these inputs merited a qualitative assessment and the results are soon to be published in the Clinical Otolaryngology journal.
You can read a summary of the published research here.
It’s worth sparing a moment to appreciate why research like this is so important and why Fifth Sense is so grateful for member participation.
By showing the wide range of issues faced by those struggling with anosmia, a variety of positive outcomes may arise. The findings can be shared more widely with clinicians, helping them to appreciate and understand the impacts upon patients, resulting in better patient practices. Moreover, each body of patient research strengthens the case for further scientific research, since there is much we do not yet understand about the process of olfaction. In some cases, clinical trials may be initiated, leading to new or more effective therapies and treatments.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the Personal Accounts of Anosmia study follows a previous Fifth Sense study conducted among members in 2013. The questionnaire-based 2013 study, compiled and analysed by Professor Philpott and Duncan Boak, is available in summary form here. (The 2013 survey resulted in an academic paper published in the Chemical Senses journal. Should you wish to read the full article, you’ll find it here).