The annual AbScent Grant has been awarded to Dr Agnieszka Sabiniewicz to fund a project that could improve the outcomes of olfactory training for older adults.
Dr Sabiniewicz explained that “Decrease of olfactory function leads to wide-ranging consequences impacting quality of life. These consequences are particularly notable in older adults due to age-related olfactory decline. On the bright side, olfactory training (OT) has been reported to improve general olfactory function. So far, research on OT in older adults is scarce, but its results are promising.”
Dr Sabiniewicaz is based at the University of Dresden Medical School, and builds on the decades of research into olfaction and olfactory training led by Professor Thomas Hummel.
The study will involve 160 older participants, divided randomly into four groups. Two groups will follow a programme of olfactory training and two will follow a control programme based on light activity. The hypothesis is that participants using their favourite odours for olfactory training will see an improvement over and above that seen in the other groups.
This is the second research project supported by the annual AbScent Grant programme. The programme invites project proposals that can contribute to AbScent’s charitable purposes of supporting those with smell dysfunction and is open to researchers who are early in their career, within five years of receiving their PhD. The project should aim to either enhance the current knowledge of smell dysfunction or explore interventions to support improvements in quality of life for those living with the condition. Patient and public involvement in the research is strongly encouraged.
Proposals are assessed by a multidisciplinary scientific committee and AbScent provides funding of up to £10,000 to the proposal assessed as most likely to enhance knowledge and understanding of olfactory disorders and their treatment.
Professor Barry Smith, who chaired the committee said, “We received several strong proposals, indicative of the increased interest in this area of research. It’s an exciting field to work in, and we’re delighted to be able to support the research leaders of the future.”
Chrissi Kelly, founder of AbScent, said, “We are aware of the impact on mental health and eating when the sense of smell declines. This is taken for granted in older people, but we would be delighted if this research shows that sensory deprivation doesn’t have to be an inevitable feature of later life.”
September 05, 2022