Publication details

Odor detection threshold, but not odor identification, is impaired in children with autism



Year of publication 2011
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Psychology
Keywords autism spectrum disorders, sensory abnormalities, olfactory abnormalities
Description The aim of our study was to examine odor detection thresholds and odor identification in autistic subjects. Thirty-five patients with Asperger’s syndrome and high functioning autism were compared with 35 healthy control subjects. There were no significant differences between groups with regard to mean age and gender proportion. Olfactory testing used the Sniffin’ Sticks test (threshold and identification parts only). Participants with Asperger’s syndrome and high functioning autism, in comparison with healthy controls, were significantly impaired relative to odor detection thresholds. Autistic participants were significantly better in correctly identifying the odor of an orange and significantly worse at correctly identifying the odor of cloves. With regard to identification of fourteen other substances, there were no significant differences. There was no significant difference between autistic and control subjects on the total score of olfactory identification. Odor identification ability (as expressed by this total score) correlated significantly with age in the control group, but not in the autism group. We found impaired odor detection and almost normal odor identification in children with autism.

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