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Long COVID tied to loss of smell that may be permanent

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An observational study of 219 unvaccinated long-COVID patients with neurologic symptoms in the Amazon concludes that 64% had a persistently impaired sense of smell, which the authors said could be permanent.Brazilian researchers evaluated 219 adult long-COVID patients at a rehabilitation center at a public university in the Amazon from Sep 9, 2020, to Oct 20, 2021.

A total of 74.9% of the patients were women, 88.6% were 18 to 59 years old, 94.1% had more than 9 years of education, and 52.5% had a monthly income of up to US $192.Most had likely been infected with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 because symptom onset occurred in spring 2020.

Participants underwent neurologic examination and completed a questionnaire about their daily activities.Hazard detection, food intake affectedOf the 219 patients, 139 (63.5%) were diagnosed as having some degree of chronic olfactory dysfunction (anosmia [loss of smell] or hyposmia [decreased sense of smell]), per the Connecticut Chemosensory Clinical Research Center test.Patients with an impaired sense of smell had long-COVID symptoms for significantly longer than those with normal olfaction (average days, 242.7 vs 221.0), and a higher proportion had neurologic symptoms for more than 6 months (79.1% vs 63.8%).There was a significant link between anosmia and interference with daily activities, namely impaired hazard detection, personal hygiene, and food intake (all 67.7%).

More participants with a normal sense of smell than those with impaired olfaction reported headache (53.8% vs 37.4%), sleep disorders (36.3% vs 23.0%), and anxiety (45.0% vs 21.6%), while a greater proportion of the anosmia group also lost their ability to taste (ageusia, 59.7% vs 23.8%).Hospitalization rates didn't differ

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