Iranian researchers produce odor sensitivity test kit 

August 17, 2019

TEHRAN- researchers at Iran University of Medical Science have built the first odor sensitivity test kit based on local odors, IRNA reported on Wednesday.  

A few years ago, researchers at Amirkabir University of Technology had built the Iranian version of the odor sensitivity test that was designed in University of Pennsylvania, but the new kit is tailored to Iran natural environment and the common smells in the country, said Dr. Mohammad Farhadi, the head of otorhinolaryngology, head and neck research center at Iran University of Medical Science. 

According to Farhadi, the kits are of three kind. The first kind tests 24 different odors common in Iran. The second one tests the users’ ability to identify the smells, differentiate between them and their overall olfactory sense.   

The third type is a highly rapid test that examines five different common smells in the country in less than two minutes, he added. 

Producing these kits took about five years, the kits are portable and simple to use as they are in the form of pens. The pen shape is also perfect for restoring the smells and testing the users’ olfactory ability, said Farhadi. 

Each pen can restore each odor for about six months, after that the pens need to be recharged, he added.

Finding common odors 

According to Farhadi, in the past, the foreign odor sensitivity kits were used, but they entailed odors that were not familiar for Iranians. 

“To come up with a version suitable for Iran, we identified 24 common odors according to different ethnic groups in Iran.”

“Contrary to common believes, the sense of smell (olfaction) is very important in people’s quality of life, using such kits help us to detect disorders that are associated with feeble sense of smell,” he said. 

Currently the olfaction is screened in Iran University of Medical Science, said Farhadi, expressing hope that other olfaction screening clinics use the new locally-modified test kits as well. 

Olfactory disorders

According to WebMD, without your sense of smell, food tastes different, you can't smell the scent of a flower, and you could find yourself in a dangerous situation, unknowingly. For example, without the ability to detect odors, you wouldn't smell a gas leak, smoke from a fire, or sour milk.

Taste and smell disorders send hundreds of thousands of Americans to the doctor each year. Fortunately, for most people, anosmia is a temporary nuisance caused by a severely stuffy nose from a cold. Once the cold runs its course, a person's sense of smell returns.

But for some people, including many elderly, the loss of a sense of smell may persist. In addition, anosmia can be a sign of a more serious medical condition. Any ongoing problems with smell should be checked out by a doctor.

SJ/MG

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