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Sun Aug 19, 2018, 06:54 PM

Phantom Smells Affect More Noses Than You Think

By Kimberly Hickok, Staff Writer | August 16, 2018 12:12pm ET

Have you ever thought you smelled something awful and distinct, like burning rubber or spoiled milk, only to realize that actually, there's nothing there? If so, you and your misleading nose are not alone. About 6 percent of Americans over age 40 experience mysterious "phantom" odors, a new study suggests.

Phantom odor perception has been observed in medical clinics, but it wasn't clear how common this condition was, said lead study author Kathleen Bainbridge, an epidemiologist at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). [Photos: Stinky 'Corpse Flower' Blooms]

To answer that question, the researchers turned to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a national survey on the health of Americans. The surveys conducted between 2011 and 2014 contained a single question about odor perception: "Do you sometimes smell an unpleasant, bad, or burning odor when nothing is there?"

The survey results, from more than 7,300 participants ages 40 or older, led the study authors to estimate that 6.5 percent of American adults in that age group perceive phantom odors. About two-thirds of the people with deceptive noses were women, and the trait was more common among people who described their health as fair to poor, compared with those who said they were in good health. Other factors that were associated with increased frequency of phantom odors were persistent dry mouth and a history of serious head injury.


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Reply Phantom Smells Affect More Noses Than You Think (Original post)
Judi Lynn Aug 2018 OP
KT2000 Aug 2018 #1
AnnieBW Aug 2018 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Aug 19, 2018, 07:42 PM

1. actually good odor

every once in a while I smell a steak sauce that was used in a restaurant I went to in my youth. They were famous for the sauce but have been out of business for years. I even went so far as to trying to duplicate it with a recipe on the internet, without success.

Yes - head (brain) injury from poisoning from pesticides.

William Meggs, MD, found that people sensitive to chemicals at low levels, had damage to the nasal mucosa such as larger spaces between cells that are meant to be tight junctions, etc. That which passes there, and then the blood brain barrier ends up in the brain.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Aug 19, 2018, 07:49 PM

2. OMG, this is me!!!

I get phantom smells of something burning, or mildew, or smelly feet ALL the time! However, I'm in fairly good health.

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