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A brain-lesion pattern based algorithm for the diagnosis of posttraumatic olfactory loss

: Lötsch, J.; Reither, N.; Bogdanov, V.; Hähner, A.; Ultsch, A.; Hill, K.; Hummel, T.

Rhinology 53 (2015), No.4, pp.365-370
ISSN: 0300-0729
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

Background: Brain areas processing olfactory information exhibit functionally relevant morphological dynamics. This suggests the exploitation of anatomical information in the diagnosis of an olfactory dysfunction. Following previous identifications of olfactory eloquent areas such as the olfactory bulbs and tracts, we focused at a brain-morphology based algorithm for establishing the diagnosis of olfactory loss following brain injury.
Methodology: Forty-one patients with a history of head trauma dated back 40 39 months, and additional 23 patients without head trauma, were assessed for damages in 11 olfaction-relevant brain areas using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Olfactory function was derived from the use of a standardized, reliable and validated olfactory test. An olfactory diagnostic algorithm was derived following classification and regression tree analysis of the brain lesion pattern.
Results: Subjects were assigned to olfactory diagnoses of anosmia, hyposmia or normosmia. These diagnoses were predictable at an accuracy of 62.3 % from the degree of damage in the olfactory bulb and in the left temporal lobe pole. The main diagnosis algorithm addressed the presence of anosmia, which could be predicted from the degree of damage in these brain areas at an accuracy of 81.3 %.
Conclusions: We independently reproduced previously identified brain regions in which morphological damage is associated with olfactory loss. Based on this reproduction, an algorithm was developed for the diagnosis of anosmia from central-nervous damage.Thus, we introduce a morphological component to the olfactory diagnosis that specifically addresses clinical cases of olfactory loss following head trauma.