The Adaptive Olfactory Measure of Threshold (ArOMa-T): a rapid test of olfactory function

Elisabeth M. Weir, Mackenzie E. Hannum, Danielle R. Reed, Paule V. Joseph, Steven D. Munger, John E. Hayes, Richard C. Gerkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many widely used psychophysical olfactory tests have limitations that can create barriers to adoption. For example, tests that measure the ability to identify odors may confound sensory performance with memory recall, verbal ability, and prior experience with the odor. Conversely, classic threshold-based tests avoid these issues, but are labor intensive. Additionally, many commercially available tests are slow and may require a trained administrator, making them impractical for use in situations where time is at a premium or self-administration is required. We tested the performance of the Adaptive Olfactory Measure of Threshold (ArOMa-T)-a novel odor detection threshold test that employs an adaptive Bayesian algorithm paired with a disposable odorant delivery card-in a non-clinical sample of individuals (n = 534) at the 2021 Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, OH. Participants successfully completed the test in under 3 min with a false alarm rate of 7.5% and a test-retest reliability of 0.61. Odor detection thresholds differed by sex (~3.2-fold lower for females) and age (~8.7-fold lower for the youngest versus the oldest age group), consistent with prior studies. In an exploratory analysis, we failed to observe evidence of detection threshold differences between participants who reported a history of COVID-19 and matched controls who did not. We also found evidence for broad-sense heritability of odor detection thresholds. Together, this study suggests the ArOMa-T can determine odor detection thresholds. Additional validation studies are needed to confirm the value of ArOMa-T in clinical or field settings where rapid and portable assessment of olfactory function is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalChemical Senses
Volume47
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Keywords

  • adaptive algorithm
  • anosmia
  • COVID-19
  • detection threshold
  • sex differences
  • smell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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