Faulty sniffers may get help
Betty (not her real name) remembers the day 9 years ago when she fully experienced an orange. As she split the fruit's skin, citrus scents sprayed into the air and the 51-year-old woman experienced a sensory epiphany: "Whoa! This is an orange. My God, this is what an orange smells like."
Even now, she says, recalling that day "makes me tear up because that orange was the very first thing I smelled." Ever.
"There are probably around 25 million people in this country who have some olfactory problem," observes Barry Davis, who directs the taste and smell program at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders in Bethesda, Md.