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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2014, Article ID 140419, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/140419
Research Article

Recovery of Olfactory Function Induces Neuroplasticity Effects in Patients with Smell Loss

1Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-Guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria
2Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria
3Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria
4High-Field MR Center, Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-Guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria

Received 15 September 2014; Accepted 3 November 2014; Published 3 December 2014

Academic Editor: Małgorzata Kossut

Copyright © 2014 Kathrin Kollndorfer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The plasticity of brain function, especially reorganization after stroke or sensory loss, has been investigated extensively. Based upon its special characteristics, the olfactory system allows the investigation of functional networks in patients with smell loss, as it holds the unique ability to be activated by the sensorimotor act of sniffing, without the presentation of an odor. In the present study, subjects with chronic peripheral smell loss and healthy controls were investigated using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare functional networks in one of the major olfactory areas before and after an olfactory training program. Data analysis revealed that olfactory training induced alterations in functional connectivity networks. Thus, olfactory training is capable of inducing neural reorganization processes. Furthermore, these findings provide evidence for the underlying neural mechanisms of olfactory training.