Date posted: September 23, 2003
Basic Smell and Taste Service Now at St. Luke's
Having problems with your smell and taste senses?
The ability to smell and taste is critical for the survival of most organisms and play a key role in their nutrition and social behavior. In humans, these senses determine the flavor and palatability of foods and beverages and serve as an early warning system for the detection of toxic vapors, fire and spoiled food. More Filipinos are engaged in jobs that make use of their senses of smell and taste, Dr. Panganiban noted. Because of this, we encounter more patients claiming to have smell and taste dysfunction that significantly affect their way of life.
According to Dr. Windolyn D. Panganiban, smell and taste disorders are common, with loss of smell occurring more frequently. Although these disorders can have a substantial impact on one�s quality of life and may represent significant underlying disease, they are often overlooked by the medical community.
Dr. Panganiban, who underwent training and clinical research at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania's Smell and Taste Center in Philadelphia, USA, further added that the most common causes of smell disturbance are nasal and sinus diseases, upper respiratory infection and head trauma; whereas, frequent causes of taste disturbance include oral infections, oral appliances (e.g. dentures), and Bell's palsy. It is also significant to note that medications can interfere with smell and taste, and should be reviewed in all patients with reported problems. And, as with the other senses, age plays an important role in smell and taste disability.
Our main objective at the Basic Smell and Taste Unit is to provide clinical evaluation, diagnosis, treatment when possible, and counseling for patients experiencing chemosensory deficits of smell and taste, Dr. Panganiban said. Currently, there aren't any objective tests available locally to evaluate smell and taste functions of patients having problems with these two senses. If we are able to provide an objective assessment, we will then be able to come up with the proper diagnosis, prognostication and of course proper treatment for those with treatable causes and proper counseling for those with none.
Other objectives include tracking or monitoring the smell function over time, to detect early signs of neurodegenerative disorder like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, to evaluate chemosensory ability of employees working in hazardous environments, or in jobs greatly involving the senses of taste and smell (like cooks, chefs and people involved in production of cosmetic products).
In addition, to diagnostic services, the unit will also provide facilities for research in basic and applied aspects of chemosensation. It can also serve as a training ground for students, doctoral level scientists and others interested in chemoreception science. Research services may also be ordered to commercial companies or industries dealing with production of scents and flavors.
The Basic Smell and Taste Unit is under St. Luke's Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. For more inquiries, contact the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at tel. no. (632) 723-0101 ext.5543 or email us at email@example.com. You may also visit our website at www.stluke.com.ph.