I had a concussion about three months ago and now my food doesn’t taste as good. My sense of smell seems different, too. Are these changes related to my brain injury and, if so, is there anything I can do about it?
Changes in Taste and Smell After Brain Injury
Changes in taste and smell after a brain injury are not unusual. When you think about it, if you have nasal congestion, that's when you are not able to taste your food so well. And it's really changes in smell that's causing those changes in taste. The olfactory nerve, which is one of the cranial nerves that comes out of the frontal lobe of your brain, is a very thin little nerve that comes through a very hard bony plate called the cribriform plate. As that little thin wispy nerve passes through the cribriform plate, it's at very high risk of injury, and after traumatic brain injury, probably 25% plus at the time, you see injury to that nerve. If we're going to see recovery of that, it's generally seen in the first 6 to 12 months. Unfortunately, there are some people who never have full recovery of their taste or smell. With regard to treatment, there are really no known treatments that are effective in recovering taste and smell. What I do recommend to some of my patients who just have diminishment in their taste or smell, is to eat foods that have richer tastes and to put more spices in their foods just so that they can create a little more enjoyment out of the food that they had.
Posted on BrainLine August 30, 2011.