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Effects of traditional Chinese acupuncture in post-viral olfactory dysfunction

Objective: To date, recovery of olfactory function after viral infection of the upper airway cannot be achieved reliably with pharmacotherapy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of traditional Chinese acupuncture (TCA) on olfactory function in patients with persistent post-viral olfactory dysfunction (PVOD).
Study design and setting: Historical cohort study in a University Medical Center, Department of Otorhinolaryngology.

Subjects and methods: 15 patients with PVOD were treated by traditional Chinese acupuncture in 10 weekly, 30-minute sessions. Subjective olfactometry was performed with the Sniffin’ Sticks test set. Treatment success was defined as an increase in Sniffin’ Sticks test scores of at least six points. The effects of TCA, obtained with the chi(2) test, were compared with those of matched pairs suffering from PVOD who had been treated with vitamin B complex over 12 weeks.
Results: 8 patients treated with traditional Chinese acupuncture had improved olfactory function compared with 2 treated with vitamin B complex (p=0.02).
Conclusion: TCA possibly offers a new therapeutic regimen for post-viral dysosmia. More research in a larger case series is needed before a clearer picture will emerge.

Source: Vent J, et al. Effects of traditional Chinese acupuncture in post-viral olfactory dysfunction. Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery 2010;142:505-509.

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