Tuesday August 20, 2019

Even Minor Head Injuries may Lead to Olfactory and Anxiety Problems

A lot of people suffer a mild concussion at some point in their life, so realising they have trouble smelling

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Anxiety, Head, Injuries
The study, published in the journal Brain Injury, found that even minor accidents like falling off a bike with a helmet on, taking a tumble on the ski slopes, slipping on ice and hitting one's head can provoke the same kind of problems as in major head injuries. Pixabay

While it is already known that people who suffer a major concussion can lose their sense of smell temporarily, researchers have found that even minor head injuries may lead to olfactory and anxiety problems.

The study, published in the journal Brain Injury, found that even minor accidents like falling off a bike with a helmet on, taking a tumble on the ski slopes, slipping on ice and hitting one’s head can provoke the same kind of problems as in major head injuries.

“A lot of people suffer a mild concussion at some point in their life, so realising they have trouble smelling is the first step to telling their doctor about it,” said study lead author Fanny Lecuyer Giguere from the University of Montreal in Canada.

“It’s important that patients report any loss of smell, because it’s not something their general practitioners normally ask about,” she said.

Anxiety, Head, Injuries
While it is already known that people who suffer a major concussion can lose their sense of smell temporarily, researchers have found that even minor head injuries may lead to olfactory and anxiety problems. Pixabay

For the study, the researchers compared 20 hospital patients who had mild concussions with 22 who had broken limbs but had no concussion.

Within 24 hours of their accident, just over half of those with mild concussions had a reduced sense of smell versus five per cent of the patients with broken bones.

A year later, although their sense of smell was back to normal, the first group of patients had significantly more anxiety than the control group.

To test their capacity to identify smells, the researchers visited hospital patients in the alpine ski resort of Visp, Switzerland between December 2016 and February 2017. They were asked to identify synthetic odour of roses, garlic, cloves and more. A year later, the patients were sent a follow-up questionnaire.

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By comparing the two groups of patients’ results on the day following their injury and 12 months later, the researchers were able to determine that most who had lost their sense of smell gained it back within six months of their accident.

What did not significantly diminish, however, were their symptoms of anxiety. About 65 per cent of the concussed patients reported such symptoms, researchers said. (IANS)

Next Story

Stress, Anxiety May Not be as Harmful as You Think: Study

According to the researchers, stress causes harm when it exceeds any level that a person can reasonably absorb or use to build psychological strength, likewise, anxiety becomes unhealthy when its alarm makes no sense

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People generally think of stress and anxiety as negative concepts, now new study shows that they often play a helpful, not harmful, role in our daily lives.

“Many Americans now feel stressed about being stressed and anxious about being anxious. Unfortunately, by the time someone reaches out to a professional for help, stress and anxiety have already built to unhealthy levels,” said study researcher Lisa Damour, private-practice psychologist from the US.

Stress usually occurs when people operate at the edge of their abilities — when they push themselves or are forced by circumstances to stretch beyond their familiar zones.

It’s also important to understand that stress can result from both bad and good events. For instance, being fired is stressful but so is bringing a baby home for the first time.

Anxiety, too, gets an unnecessarily bad rap, said the study.

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Today, one in three teens between the ages of 13 and 18 has an anxiety disorder. Pixabay

“As all psychologists know, anxiety is an internal alarm system, likely handed down by evolution, that alerts us to threats both external — such as a driver swerving in a nearby lane — and internal — such as when we have procrastinated too long and it’s time to get started on our work,” Damour said.

“Similarly, if a client shares that she’s worried about an upcoming test for which she has yet to study, I am quick to reassure her that she is having the right reaction and that she will feel better as soon as she hits the books,” she added.

Also Read: Fake News on Jammu and Kashmir Fanning Hatred

According to the researchers, stress causes harm when it exceeds any level that a person can reasonably absorb or use to build psychological strength, likewise, anxiety becomes unhealthy when its alarm makes no sense.

“Untreated stress and anxiety can cause persistent misery but can also contribute to a host of additional psychological and medical symptoms, such as depression or an increased risk of cardiovascular disease”, Damour added. (IANS)