The Challenge of Parosmia

The Challenge of Parosmia
22 October 2021, 1.00pm - 23 October 2021, 5.30pm
Conference / Symposium

The Covid-19 pandemic produced a huge rise in olfactory dysfunction. Most of those who caught coronavirus experienced a sudden smell loss, and for those whose sense of smell did not return quickly, many went on to develop parosmia. 

Parosmia involves a strikingly distorted sense of smell (mostly off-putting odours) for familiar foods and has a profound effect on people’s quality of life, leading to a loss of pleasure in food and eating, altered intimacy with partners and even a changed relationship to one’s own body. However, the understanding and treatment of parosmia are still limited and there is a need for more information both through the work of patient advocate groups and the efforts of researchers to understand the mechanisms underlying the range of patients’ symptoms. 

This virtual conference, hosted by the Institute of Philosophy's new Centre for Olfactory Research and Applications (CORA) with the support of the AHRC Science in Culture Theme, brings together sensory scientists, philosophers, clinicians and patient advocacy groups to discuss parosmia, recent findings, and the experience of those living with the condition. 

A sensory box has been designed to introduce participants to the experience of parosmia. It has been created by members of CORA and those attending the conference will be able to explore it in a special session available over Zoom. The sensory box will be posted to conference participants who register in advance. 

Attendance is free and open to all, but attendees must register before Friday 15 October to be guaranteed delivery of a sensory box.


FRIDAY 22 October

13.00: Welcome to Conference and CORA: How it all began (Barry Smith, IP SAS)               
13.15: Covid-19, olfactory dysfuction and patient groups (Chris Kelly, AbScent) 
13.30: What we talk about when we talk about parosmia (Simon Gane, Royal National ENT and UCL)     
14.00: The biology of parosmia (Nancy Rawson, Monell) 
14.30: Sensory boxes – interactive event led by Duika Burges Watson (Newcastle)  
15.30: Managing qualitative disorders in clinical practice (Carl Philpott, UEA and Fifth Sense)   

16.00: Break   

16.30: Long-term parosmia: prevalence, predictors and consequences in the general population (Jonas Olofsson, Stockholm)  
17.00: Parosmia: Molecules and Mechanisms (Jane Parker, Reading)  
17.30: Parosmia and Eating from a clinical perspective (Alexander Fjaeldstad, Aarhus)    
18.00: Prevalence and Correlates of Parosmia among Smell Disorders (Bob Pellegrino, Monell)  
18.30: Parosmia as a prognostic factor in terms of recovery from olfactory loss (Thomas Hummel, Dresden)  
19.00: Close    

SATURDAY 23rd October 

Dedicated in-person session working with patient groups: Chris Kelly (AbScent), Duika Burges Watson (Newcastle) and ENT surgeon Katherine Whitcroft (Royal National ENT and UCL)

12:30-1pm: Talk by Katherine Whitcroft (this will be the only Zoom talk that day)


Organised by the Institute of Philosophy and AbScent. It is part of the Arts & Humanities Research Council's Science in Culture Theme.


Elizabeth Dearnley
020 7664 4865