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AbScent awards grant for groundbreaking research into smell training and aging

10K award will research effects of smell training in older adults

[27th September 2022; London and Dresden, Germany] – AbScent, the charity that supports people impacted by all types of smell disorders, is delighted to announce that it has awarded a £10,000 (EU 11.5k) grant to Dr Agnieszka Sabiniewicaz at the Carl Gustav Carus Faculty of Medicine, Dresden, Germany.

The grant will fund an important project that could improve the outcomes of olfactory training for older adults. Dr Sabiniewicaz is based at Dresden’s medical school, a world-leading institute with decades of research into olfaction and olfactory training led by Professor Thomas Hummel.

Chrissi Kelly, Founder of AbScent, said; “We are well aware of the impact on mental health and eating when the sense of smell declines with old age. 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. There is potential to make improvements in overall wellbeing of older people and this exciting research will help to drive this forward.”

Dr Sabiniewicaz 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.”

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.”

Smell training is one of the only treatments evidenced to improve smell. Smell training is the process of actively sniffing the same four scents every day, spending around 20 seconds on each scent with intense concentration. It is easy, safe, and recommended by doctors. Anyone can do smell training if they would like to improve their sense of smell. 

Smell loss includes a broad range of conditions including anosmia, hyposmia, parosmia, and phantosmia. AbScent has an unrivalled resource of trusted information delivered by a distinguished advisory board and working with the latest scientific and clinical evidence. AbScent advocates to increase understanding and raise awareness of the conditions and their impacts supporting research into smell conditions.

AbScent’s smell training kits have been formulated, based on scientific research, to improve sense of smell, and clinically developed to exercise the olfactory process. AbScent’s smell training kits come in three varieties, or you can even build your own. AbScent’s smell training kits are available in three varieties, and can be exported to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. 100% of proceeds directly support the work of the charity.

For hints and tips about how smell training please visit https://abscent.org/learn-us/how-smell-train

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