Valentina Parma, Camilla Tornasi, Paola Grossi, Matteo Atzori, Paola Perini, Massimiliano Calabrese, Roberto Tirindelli, Paolo Gallo and Umberto Castiello
The present study assessed odour threshold, discrimination and identi fi cation in relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) pa- tients. We administered the Snif fi n’ Sticks Extended Test (Burghart Messtechnik GmbH, Wedel, Germany) to 50 RRMS female patients and to 50 matched control subjects. Also, the number and the volume of MRI-visible demyelinating plaques within the inferior frontal and temporal lobes (IFTL complex), were quanti fi ed in a patient subgroup. The results indicated that up to 34% of the RRMS sample exhibited hyposmia, but none of the MS patients could be considered functionally anosmic. Odour identi fi cation and general olfactory performance signi fi cantly decreased with respect to the patients’ age. No signi fi cant correlations between olfactory scores and the number and the volume of plaques within the IFTL complex were found. These fi ndings suggest that some speci fi c forms of olfactory dysfunction do exist in MS patients and that the correlation between olfactory dysfunctions and structural brain damage might not be as strict as previously suggested.