02 Nov City of Philadelphia Recognizes Monell Chemical Senses Center with Proclamation of November 2023 Smell and Taste Testing Month
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ahmed Barakat, email@example.com
Monell researchers present City Council testimony advocating for universal smell and taste testing.
PHILADELPHIA (November 2, 2023) – The Monell Chemical Senses Center today was recognized by the City Council of Philadelphia for its groundbreaking smell and taste research and public health contributions with a resolution declaring November 2023 as Smell and Taste Testing Month in Philadelphia.
Monell is the world’s leading independent, non-profit research institute dedicated to advancing the scientific understanding of taste, smell, and related senses in order to improve global health and well-being. This month, the Center is bringing together patients, scientists, legislators, and healthcare professionals for a series of events titled Towards Universal Chemosensory Testing (TUCT). From November 5-7, in Philadelphia and virtually, attendees will get together with one goal in mind: to develop strategies for implementing routine smell and taste testing for all across the lifespan as part of healthcare in the United States.
Smell and taste loss are associated with significant reduction in quality of life and mental and nutritional health, and increased mortality in older adults. In addition, loss of smell and taste can be an early symptom of several health concerns, including viral illness and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. Integrating taste and smell testing into regular medical care will benefit public health by speeding the diagnosis of chemosensory disorders and associated health problems, allowing for earlier treatment and a return to quality of life.
Monell presented testimony today before City Council urging public health officials to adopt universal smell and taste testing as an important tool for health monitoring and preventative care.
“The adoption of universal smell testing as part of routine care has the potential to reduce the burden of diseases that have smell and taste loss as an early symptom, including neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease,” said Monell Chief Science Officer Danielle Reed, PhD. “Loss of smell can predate other symptoms of Parkinson’s by a decade; if a simple, routine smell test could identify it earlier, we would have the opportunity to improve health outcomes and quality of life for patients, as well as reduce the economic burden of chemosensory dysfunction and its consequences.”
Despite the significant role of the chemical senses in signaling disease, as well as safety, emotional connection, and quality of life, healthcare providers do not routinely screen for changes in a person’s ability to smell and taste as they might for vision or hearing. Monell has developed SCENTinel™, a rapid, inexpensive smell test for population-wide screening for smell function, making routine smell screening accessible and affordable to all. With the support of public health officials and clinicians, it is Monell’s goal to bring smell tests like SCENTinel™ into mainstream use.
“Rapid smell tests like SCENTinel™ now make it possible for doctors to offer this intervention to improve our mental health, our nutritional health, and our brain health, and play a role in improving health inequities,” said Monell postdoctoral fellow Patrice Hubert, PhD.
At the national level, making universal smell and taste testing accessible to all Americans are goals of both the 2023 – 2027 Strategic Plan of the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ “Healthy People 2030” initiative. The NIH plan envisions implementing routine smell testing as an early detection tool for neurodegenerative diseases. Healthy People 2030 has an explicit goal to increase the percentage of adults with taste and smell disorders who have seen a healthcare provider specifically for their disorder from 20% to 26% by 2030. Monell is a leading voice moving us closer to achieving these national goals.
“We advocate for smell and taste function to be recognized as an important element of disease prevention and management,” said TUCT co-leader and Monell Assistant Director and Assistant Member Valentina Parma, PhD. “Sensory, nutritional, psychological and neurological consequences of chemosensory dysfunction affect millions of diverse individuals. Measuring taste and smell health over a lifetime can improve and even save lives.”
Monell is convening TUCT in partnership with Thomas Jefferson University, the Smell and Taste Association of North America (STANA), the University of Florida, Ohio State University, and Massachusetts General Hospital. For more information or to register, please visit https://smellandtastetestingforall.monell.org/.
The Monell Chemical Senses Center is an independent nonprofit basic research institute based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1968, Monell‘s mission is to improve health and well-being by advancing the scientific understanding of taste, smell, and related senses, where our discoveries lead to improving nutritional health, diagnosing and treating disease, addressing smell and taste loss, and digitizing chemosensory data.