Fact or Myth: Can Sinus Medicine Damage Your Sense of Smell?

This is a FACT.

If you use certain sinus medicine products developed by Zicam™, you could be damaging your sense of smell. Anosmia (loss of smell) has been reported in more than 100 cases of these over-the-counter (OTC) remedies. Some experienced anosmia after the first dose! Continue reading

Greeks Knew All About Rosemary Benefits…Now Making a Comeback

Rosemary a fragrant herb native to the Mediterranean region has many benefits it can reduce stress and anxiety, improve memory, mental performance, concentration–and even have a significant effect on your test-taking ability? Continue reading

Smell of Pumpkin Pie Arouses Male Senses

Some aromas have been found to be especially arousing for men. Topping the list of scents that produced increased penile blood flow in men studied was the scent of pumpkin pie and lavender. Researchers Alan Hirsch MD and colleague Dr. Jason Gruss studied various aromas, finding pumpkin pie and lavender scents increased blood flow to the penis 40 percent among men studied.

The researchers studied 24 different smells and 6 combinations of scents in 31 men, ages 18 to 64, recruited from rock radio broadcasts. They assessed 30 different odors and their effect on penile blood flow, using a plethysmograph.

Smell of Pumpkin Pie may Make Men Alert to Sexual Cues

Next to pumpkin pie and lavender, licorice and doughnut scents were found to sexually arouse men. The increase in penile blood flow was 31.5 percent. The researchers say it’s difficult to understand exactly why pumpkin pie and other scents arouse men. One theory is the scents make men more alert to sexual cues via olfactory pathways that connect with the brain.

The scientists know odors can positively affect behavior that in turn could lead to more blood flow to the penis. Pumpkin pie combined with the odor of doughnuts, increased blood flow 20 percent in the study.

Hirsch says it also could be the odors are just relaxing, or even remind men of past sexual partners or simply their favorite foods. Cranberry wasn’t at the top of the list, but also studied – the fruit only produced a 2 percent increase in blood flow to the penis. For older men, the response to vanilla was stronger compared to younger men. Pumpkin pie, lavender, doughnuts, black licorice and orange are all scents that seem to arouse men, for whatever reason. It seems the way to a man’s heart is definitely food related.

Nasal Sprays Containing Zinc May Damage Sense of Smell

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday warned consumers to stop using three Zicam intranasal cold remedy products containing zinc after continuing reports that some users have lost their sense of smell.

The over-the-counter products are: Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size (a discontinued product)

The FDA also issued a warning letter to Scottsdale, Ariz.-based drug maker Matrixx Initiatives Inc. to stop marketing the products and seek FDA approval if it wants to keep them on the market.

“The loss of sense of smell is serious,” Dr. Charles Lee, medical officer at the agency’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said at a press briefing.

He said the loss of sense of smell, known medically as anosmia, “is potentially life-threatening and it may be permanent.”

“People without the sense of smell may not be able to detect dangers, such as gas leaks or something burning in the house and may not be able to tell if food is spoiled before eating,” said Deborah Autor, director of the US office of compliance at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

“People who cannot smell are also not able to appreciate flavors and could lose much of the pleasure of eating, adversely impacting their quality of life.”

The FDA has received more than 130 reports of anosmia from patients who used zinc-containing nasal products, Lee said. “While the number of adverse events may not seem high, we believe they are significant,” Lee said, explaining that the agency hasn’t seen a corresponding number of anosmia reports with other common cold products.

Until 2007, there were no requirements for over-the-counter product manufacturers to provide adverse event reports to the agency.

In the warning letter, the FDA asked Matrixx to hand over more than 800 reports “that we know they have relating to loss of sense of smell associated with these products,” Autor said. Dr. Robert Henkin, a neurologist who directs the Taste and Smell Clinic in Washington, D.C., said, “I am surprised the FDA has done this.

I think it’s great. I hope it sticks.” Henkin also said it’s not simply a matter of patients losing their taste and smell, it also results in a distortion of those senses. “This is devastating,” he said.

“It colors their whole lifetime. When they eat something or smell something it smells distorted or awful, sometimes rotten or chemical. It inhibits them from being able to eat or socialize.”

The US FDA first started receiving adverse event reports about the drug in 1999, but the majority came after 2004, Lee said.

In 2006, the company paid $12 million to settle 340 lawsuits brought by consumers who claimed the zinc nasal gel adversely affected their sense of smell.(agencies)

Migraine Sufferers More Vulnerable to Hangover

JEFFERSON – Migraine sufferers may be more vulnerable to an alcohol-induced headache after a night of drinking, according to researchers.

Until now, studying the mechanism behind migraine and other forms of recurrent headaches has not been possible in an animal model, says Michael Oshinsky, assistant Neurology professor at Jefferson Medical College (JMC).

Oshinsky developed a rat model in which headaches are induced by repeatedly stimulating, over weeks to months, the brain’s dura mater with an inflammatory mixture. Dura mater is the outermost, toughest, and most fibrous of the three membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

Oshinsky and Christina Maxwell, doctoral student in the neuroscience programme, used their model to study the effects of alcohol on rats who suffer recurrent migraines, compared to rats free of headaches.

Such headaches are associated with hypersensitivity to light, sound and touch on the head and face. Researchers, using four groups of rats, measured their sensitivity to touch around the eye. They monitored the change in pain threshold of the face resulting from the repeated dural stimulation.

“Our results suggest that dehydration or impurities in alcohol are not responsible for hangover headache,” Oshinsky said.

“Since these rats were sufficiently hydrated and the alcohol they received contained no impurities, the alcohol itself or a metabolite must be causing the hangover-like headache. These data confirm the clinical observation that people with migraine are more susceptible to alcohol-induced headaches.”

Oshinsky and his lab are now also studying the mechanism for the induction of headache, and also the metabolites of alcohol that cause hangover, said a JMC release.

The study was presented at Neuroscience 2009, the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, in Chicago.