Massachusetts Eye and Ear Developing Smell Restoration Technology

Physicians at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, a member of the Council, recently announced their use of electrodes in the nose to stimulate nerves, causing people who had lost their sense of smell to suddenly report smelling strong scents like onions or fruit.

The electrodes are described as a “cochlear implant for the nose,” positioned in the sinus cavities to stimulate the olfactory bulb, which is the part of the brain where smell is processed. Dr. Eric Holbrook, corresponding author of the study and Chief of Rhinology at Mass. Eye and Ear, is careful to remind patients that smell restoration is far more complicated than hearing restoration, due to the high volume of nerve interaction in the structure. According to research from the International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology, while loss of smell affects around 5 percent of the general population, there are no proven therapies yet to help restore it.

Dr. Holbrook said, “Our work shows that smell restoration technology is an idea worth studying further.” He went on to say that while the research is still in its early stages, “there’s a high potential for it to actually be a device down the road.”

The NEC commends Mass. Eye and Ear on this pivotal study and thanks them for their dedication to helping people recover their sense of smell.

Read more from the Boston Herald.

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