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How does my sense of smell work?

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A person's sense of smell is driven by certain processes. First, a molecule released from a substance (such as fragrance from a flower) must stimulate special nerve cells (called olfactory cells) found high up in the nose. These nerve cells then send information to the brain, where the specific smell is identified. Anything that interferes with these processes, such as nasal congestion, nasal blockage, or damage to the nerve cells themselves, can lead to a loss of smell.

The ability to smell also affects our ability to taste. Without the sense of smell, our taste buds can only detect a few flavors, and this can affect your quality of life.

From: What Is Anosmia? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Rhinologic Society: "Loss of Taste and Smell Stinks!"

Mayo Clinic: "The Loss of Smell (Anosmia)."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Smell and Taste Disorders: A Primary Care Approach."

National Institutes of Health: "Smell Disorders."

Reviewed by Neil Lava on May 5, 2019

SOURCES:

American Rhinologic Society: "Loss of Taste and Smell Stinks!"

Mayo Clinic: "The Loss of Smell (Anosmia)."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Smell and Taste Disorders: A Primary Care Approach."

National Institutes of Health: "Smell Disorders."

Reviewed by Neil Lava on May 5, 2019

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What causes anosmia?

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