Categories Campaign of the WeekFundraisingHealth & Social CareRecent

Researchers sniff out help for smell disorders

Woman sniffs bouquet of lavender in a field of lavender

AbScent, the charity that supports people impacted by all types of smell disorders, has awarded a grant to fund an important project that could improve the outcomes of ‘smell training’ for older adults.

Smell loss includes a broad range of conditions and smell training is one of the only treatments evidenced to improve smell.

Smell training is the process of actively sniffing the same four scents every day, spending around 20 seconds on each scent with intense concentration. It is easy, safe, and recommended by doctors. Anyone can do smell training if they would like to improve their sense of smell.

The grant to the Carl Gustav Carus Faculty of Medicine at the Technical University of Dresden in Germany will involve 160 older participants, divided randomly into four groups. Two groups will follow a programme of what’s know as smell training (or more scientifically, olfactory training) and two will follow a control programme based on light activity.

Chrissi Kelly, Founder of AbScent, said; “We are well aware of the impact on mental health and eating when the sense of smell declines with old age. This is taken for granted in older people, but we would be delighted if this research shows that sensory deprivation doesn’t have to be an inevitable feature of later life. There is potential to make improvements in overall wellbeing of older people and this exciting research will help to drive this forward.”

Researcher, Dr Sabiniewicaz explained that:

“Decrease of olfactory function leads to wide-ranging consequences impacting quality of life. These consequences are particularly notable in older adults due to age-related olfactory decline. On the bright side, Olfactory Training (OT) has been reported to improve general olfactory function. So far, research on OT in older adults is scarce, but its results are promising.”

This is the second research project supported by the annual AbScent Grant programme. The programme invites project proposals that can contribute to AbScent’s charitable purposes of supporting those with smell dysfunction and is open to researchers who are early in their career, within five years of receiving their PhD. 

Professor Barry Smith, who chaired the committee said:

“We received several strong proposals, indicative of the increased interest in this area of research. It’s an exciting field to work in, and we’re delighted to be able to support the research leaders of the future.”

AbScent’s smell training kits have been formulated, based on scientific research, to improve sense of smell, and clinically developed to exercise the olfactory process.

For hints and tips about how smell training works, visit

Founder Member of Campaign Collective, chair of the Public Relations & Communications Association Charity and Not-For-Profit Group. Write mainly about charity, public sector and social enterprise campaigns.