“How Your Sense of Smell Predicts Your Overall Health”

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The Story

“How Your Sense of Smell Predicts Your Overall Health”
by Abdullah Asad Iqbal
BBC Future, March 2021

The Pitch

The importance of our sense of smell and what we can do to get it back.

Commonly overlooked and called the ‘’Cinderella of the senses’’. Our sense of smell is something we don’t pay attention to but its important more than smelling if there is food cooking. It is essential for our sense of taste, in memory formation and its loss has been linked to an increase in mortality.

‘Loss of smell can be life-changing, it removes an important part of your sense of self.’ says Chrissi Kelly, founder of a charity called AbScent for those who have lost their sense of smell. Therefore, I propose a 2500-word article that explores the importance of our sense of smell in day-to-day life through its importance in taste, which is underappreciated as 70% of our taste comes from our sense of smell. I will also explore how it is being used in the consolidation of memories as senses of smell are linked to strong memories as shown by the smell of certain foods with companies exploring its use. I will then show how our sense of smell is commonly lost in a wide range of diseases from Parkinson’s Disease to sinus diseases. After this, a section will showcase the research of Professor Honglei Chen showing loss of smell has been linked to increased mortality and work by other experts on why this is the case.

Ending with a section on work to gain back or protect our sense of smell. This section will explore smell training and work being conducted by Professor Yusuf Ozgur Camak on the world’s first non-invasive electrical array to stimulate/inhibit the olfactory bulb (the area of the brain necessary for smell.) This will link all previous sections and show how such an electrical array could be used to halt neurological diseases like Parkinson’s Disease and help fight obesity.

I can call upon several distinguished sources such as; Yusuf Ozgur Camak, Associate Professor at the University of Otago Department of Anatomy; Venkatesh Murthy, Raymond Leo Erikson Life Sciences Professor and chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology; and Honglei Chen, Professor and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Michigan State University, and Dr Ginesh.G.Nair, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I will also be interviewing patients who have lost their sense of smell to show how it has a drastic effect on their life’s.

I have published articles with Massive Science, Northwing Magazine and The British Neuroscience Association. Furthermore, I am undertaking a masters in Neuroscience and so have the necessary expertise to talk about this topic.

I thank you for your consideration and hope to hear from you soon.

Best wishes,

Abdullah Iqbal

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