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Keywords:

  • Parkinson's disease;
  • olfaction;
  • psychophysics;
  • l-DOPA;
  • perception

ABSTRACT

Background

Whether Parkinson's disease (PD) influences suprathreshold changes in perceived odor intensity is unknown. In patients with Alzheimer's disease, patients with schizophrenia, and the elderly, such perception is reportedly normal. If generally true, this could reflect a core element of the olfactory system insulated to some degree from age- and disease-related pathological conditions.

Methods

Odor intensity ratings for pentyl acetate were obtained from 29 early-stage PD patients when on and off dopamine-related medications (DRMs) and from 29 matched controls.

Results

The ratings were significantly attenuated at the higher odorant concentrations, with the degree of attenuation associated with overall olfactory dysfunction. Ratings were higher on the right than on the left side of the nose of both patients and controls. No associations with DRMs, Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) scores, or striatal dopamine transporter imaging were found.

Conclusions

Parkinson's disease (PD) influences suprathreshold estimates of perceived odor intensity, negating the notion that such perception might be spared in this disease. No association with dopaminergic processes was apparent. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society