La fonction olfactive dans le dépistage pour une dépression chez les traumatismes crânio-cérébraux


Johannes Frasnelli

Centre de recherche de l'Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal


Domaine : neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme consortium pour le développement de la recherche en traumatologie - volet 2

Concours 2014-2015


Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux
Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec
Réseau privincial de recherche en adaptation-réadaptation
Association québécoise d'établissements de santé et de services sociaux
Associtation des établissements de réadaptation en déficience physique du Québec

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the first cause of mortality and invalidity in young adults in industrialized countries. Every year more people suffer from TBI than from Parkinson¿s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and epilepsy combined. The majority of victims are young and about to enter the most productive years of their lives. However, many serious long term consequences of TBI may impair and handicap patients.

Psychiatric complications such as anxiety, depressive symptoms and/or depression are amongst the most commonly observed disabling consequences of a TBI. While the exact mechanisms of a TBI caused depression are unclear, several studies suggest that it may be caused by the impact of the accident on specific brain regions. The same brain regions are also involved in olfactory processing; so it comes with no surprise that disturbances of the sense of smell are also very common amongst patients with TBI.

We suggest that olfactory testing in the days after a TBI may allow for the assessment of impairment to these brain areas and therefore a prediction of the long term development of depression. Since today we cannot yet predict which TBI patient will develop psychiatric complications over time, an association between olfactory function and depressive symptoms will allow for an adequate early treatment in the future, which may prevent or minimize long term complications.