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Olfaction: a potential cognitive marker of psychiatric disorders

Abstract : Cognitive deficits are well documented in psychiatric disorders, particularly in schizophrenia and depression. Cognitive activity roots in perceptions. However, research on sensorial alterations in psychiatric conditions has mainly focused on visual or auditory processes and less on olfaction. Here, we examine data on olfactory deficits in psychiatric patients using a systematic review of recent publications. Schizophrenic patients are mainly characterized by no reliable change in odour sensitivity and by a deficit in odour identification, recognition and discrimination. Depressed patients principally exhibit a deficit in the hedonic aspects of this perception, even if, in some case, alterations in sensitivity or identification are also found. Changes in odour perception are also found in dementia and in some neurodegenerative disease, but in this case alterations concern all aspects of the sensorial experience (detection threshold, identification and recognition). Taken together, these data indicate that olfactory abnormalities might be a marker of psychiatric conditions, with a specific pattern for each disease.
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Boriana Atanasova, Jérôme Graux, Wissam El-Hage, Caroline Hommet, Vincent Camus, et al.. Olfaction: a potential cognitive marker of psychiatric disorders. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Oxford: Elsevier Ltd., 2008, 32 (7), pp.1315 - 1325. ⟨10.1016/j.neubiorev.2008.05.003⟩. ⟨hal-02525204⟩

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