Mic: COVID Is Inspiring Smell Scientists to Explore Exciting New Frontiers

Just over five years ago, while listening to some friends gripe about the overwhelming aroma of a nearby lemon candle, it struck me that not only could I not smell that scent, I couldn’t recall the last time I’d smelled any citrus. In fact, I couldn’t remember what citrus was meant to smell like.

Fairly jarred, I decided to start making little, surreptitious notes day-to-day about what I smelled versus what other people said they could smell. I soon realized I was slowly losing my sense of smell. I’m still not sure why. (Smell loss is a possible yet under-studied symptom of a progressive neurological disorder I’ve lived with since childhood, though I have yet to firmly establish that link.) But whatever the cause, as my smell has worsened I’ve gradually come to appreciate that olfactory disorders are not just a minor inconvenience. They’re a major disruption to the way that I and many other people experience and navigate the world around us.

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