Does the presence of posttraumatic anosmia mean that you will be disinhibited? Academic Article uri icon


  • Dispute has surrounded the issue of whether the relationship between anosmia and executive dysfunction in traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be artefactual due to poor ascertainment. Three groups matched for age, gender, education, Full Scale IQ, and the Wechsler Working Memory Index and showing adequate symptom validity were compared: 30 anosmic TBIs (TBI-A) matched for posttraumatic amnesia (PTA) and working memory functioning with 36 nonanosmic TBIs (TBI-NA) and 51 controls. The groups performed the FAS test, the Animal Fluency test, the Stroop Neurological Screening Test (SNST), the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test-64 (WCST-64) and the Trail Making Test (TMT-B) as well as tests of emotional functioning and return to work outcome. After adjusting for the covariates (i.e., gender; Wechsler Test of Adult Reading, WTAR; and years of education), a significant effect was found for items successfully completed on the SNST, the FAS task, the Animal Fluency task, and the WCST-64 categories completed. After adjusting for the covariates, a significant difference was found for number of errors on the SNST and for the number and type of errors on TMT-B. The two groups did not differ in terms of their affective functioning (i.e., Beck Depression Inventory or Beck Anxiety Inventory), or in terms of their outcome with regard to return to work. The findings support the notion that the TBI-A group demonstrated considerably weaker performance on executive tasks than did the nonanosmic TBIs. These patients were not, however, more prone to an error-prone pattern of performance, and, if anything, their executive deficit was more likely attributable to a reduced productivity of response.

publication date

  • March 1, 2013