Thanks for taking the time to speak to us about intranasal Vitamin A treatment for patients with post-infectious smell loss, Katherine.
Q. Before we begin, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
A. I’m an Ear Nose and Throat surgeon (Dr in the US, Miss in the UK!) with a background in Neuroscience, and am currently a Research Fellow at the Technical University in Dresden, as well as the Centre for the Study of the Senses and University College London Hospitals. My particular interest is cross-discipline and translational research - turning basic science research into treatments for patients.
Q. Could you explain to our readers a little bit about Vitamin A therapy for patients who have lost their sense of smell after a bad virus?
A. Our sense of smell relies on activation of nerve cells that sit in the mucous layer at the top of our nose. By sitting in the mucous layer in this way, these cells are exposed to everything we breathe in - not just odours, but also harmful particles, including viruses, dusts and toxins, which can damage the nerve. To get around this, and maintain our sense of smell, these cells have a unique ability to regenerate and replace themselves. In some people, probably because of an accumulation of damage throughout their life, this regenerative capacity can be overwhelmed after an infection (usually viral, but can also be due to other types of bug, for example bacteria - for this reason we should use the term post-infectious rather than post-viral).
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