Newswise — PHILADELPHIA (February 24, 2015) – The Monell Center announces three new educational outreach initiatives to promote Anosmia Awareness Day, which takes place on February 27. Each was designed to increase awareness and increase the limited information currently available about anosmia, the loss of our sense of smell, which affects over six million Americans and many millions more worldwide.

“Monell is the right place with the right people and this is the right time to increase awareness about anosmia and focus on targeted research to help people affected with this invisible disability, which can have distressing effects on emotional well-being, safety and quality of life,” said Monell Center Director Robert F. Margolskee, MD, PhD.

Monell launched “A Sense of Hope: The Monell Anosmia Project,” an anosmia awareness and research campaign, in February 2014. Monell developed a website to provide accessible information about the causes of anosmia and the lack of available treatments. Monell also teamed with actor Bill Pullman, who lost his sense of smell as a young man, to produce a video to promote understanding about the importance of smell.

At the same time, Monell launched a new anosmia research program using adult olfactory stem cells with the goal of restoring smell for some forms of anosmia. Since then, additional research has begun on the genetic basis of anosmia. A third line of research involves bioengineering studies to help surgeons successfully identify and remove nasal polyps causing anosmia.

To mark Anosmia Awareness Day 2015 and inaugurate the second year of “A Sense of Hope,” the Center has prepared three information pieces that together target patients, physicians and the general public:

• Many physicians, including those who specialize in otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat disorders), have little understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms causing smell loss. As such, they are not able to offer informed diagnostic and prognostic guidance or treatment options. To better equip physicians to assist patients, Monell scientists will join with clinical collaborator Edmund Pribitkin, MD, of Thomas Jefferson University to present an educational seminar on the causes and treatments of anosmia to physicians and health care workers in the Philadelphia area. The seminar will be held in a Grand Rounds format at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital on February 25, 2015. Physicians who attend the program will be eligible to receive Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit from the American Medical Association. Further extending the seminar’s reach, it will be posted online to the medical education website Audio-Digest, where it will be available to physicians worldwide, and accessible to the public via the Monell website.

• Further responding to the limited availability of reliable comprehensive information about anosmia, Monell has posted a new FAQ on the Center’s website. Targeted to individuals with anosmia and their families, the FAQ provides clear and succinct answers to common questions concerning the causes and consequences of anosmia.

• Individuals with anosmia often comment that it is difficult to explain why smell loss is so debilitating. On February 27, Monell will release a new awareness video highlighting the many consequences of living life without smell. The video will be available on Monell’s main website and also via the Center’s “A Sense of Hope” fundraising site.

The Monell Chemical Senses Center is an independent nonprofit basic research institute based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For over 46 years, Monell has advanced scientific understanding of the mechanisms and functions of taste and smell to benefit human health and well-being. Using an interdisciplinary approach, scientists collaborate in the programmatic areas of sensation and perception; neuroscience and molecular biology; environmental and occupational health; nutrition and appetite; health and well-being; development, aging, and regeneration; and chemical ecology and communication. For more information about Monell, visit www.monell.org.

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