November 23, 2012
You don't have to lose
your sense of smell as you age
We don’t think as much about the sense of smell as we do vision. But smell problems grow with age. Some 25% of men between 60 and 69 have challenges with their sense of smell. If you lack the sense of smell, there is some technology on the horizon that might greatly enrich your life. In fact, this type of technology might enrich the lives of many people with other genetic challenges.

Scientists hypothesize that the reason we lose our sense of smell with age has to do with the tiny hair structures in our nose called cilia. These little hairs help cells sense what is around them.

In a recent study, researchers took mice with a genetic defect in cilia production. They then “infected” the mice with a virus, which contained the genetic sequence for the corrected gene.  After they gave them the virus for 3 days, they let them rest for 10 days to allow the gene to “grow” the needed protein for cilia.

Three weeks after the treatment, the mice had gained 60% of their body weight – they were eating more. Absent a sense of smell, any animal will eat less. Smell is intimately connected with taste as well. The researchers were able to determine that the smell neurons were working correctly when they exposed the mice to a strong smelling chemical.

This type of modern research is wonderful, and is where medicine should be going. There’s often no hope for people with genetic defects. I hope this type of research will not only help restore smell/taste to aging people, but will fold into helping many other people born with genetic challenges. Right now, this treatment is widely available. But I’ll let you know when it is.

Continued Below...

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In the meantime, there are a few other things you can do to recover your sense of smell. These don’t always work, but they’re worth a try. The first thing to check for is zinc deficiency. This mineral is intimately connected with both smell and taste senses. Next, if you have amalgam fillings, it’s possible mercury is poisoning the nerve endings in your mouth. See a biologic dentist and have the fillings removed properly.

Finally, taste is actually more smell than tongue activity. Loss of both suggests a possible problem in the nerve endings in your nose. This is what the aforementioned therapy treats. However, you might have a mass compressing the nerves. You might have a neurologist check you out.

Yours for better health and medical freedom,

Ref: Nature Medicine, September 2, 2012.

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