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fMRI Identifies Smell and Taste Malfunction in COVID-19 Patients

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Images captured with fMRI in a case study reveal the role of the orbitofrontal cortex in patients infected with the virus who experience anosmia and ageusia.

Functional MRI (fMRI) has helped increase understanding about the loss of smell and taste that frequently accompany COVID-19 infection. The answer lies in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC).

In a case study published Jan. 22 in JAMA Neurology, investigators from Ibn Sina hospital in Kuwait detailed their experience in April 2020 with a 25-year-old, COVID-19-positive female patient who had both anosmia and ageusia – loss of smell and taste, respectively.

Both Khaled A. Gad, M.D., from the Ibn Sina radiology department, and Ismail Ibrahim Ismail, MSc, from the neurology department, outlined the findings. It is the first published report, they said, of using fMRI with COVID-19-positive patients who have lost the senses of smell and taste.

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