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Recovering sense of smell and taste

Brunel experts in collaboration with Learning JBE Ltd, are testing acceptability and benefits of a Camera-based Visual Feedback Learning Aid in restoring, improving or correcting the sense of smell and taste in COVID-19 survivors. The project was initiated with RSDO’s Innovation Voucher and later funded by the KEEP+ (EU funded programme) as part of SME and University knowledge exchange partnership.  

About one in 10 people with COVID-19 infection report persistent (lasting>7 days) COVID-19-related anosmia (loss of the sense of smell), hyposmia(reduced sense of smell), or parosmia (distorted sense of smell).

A similar proportion of COVID-19 survivors report ageusia (loss of the sense of taste), hypogeusia (reduced sense of taste), or dysgeusia (altered perception of taste), with many people reporting both smell and taste impairment. Smell and/or taste impairment in the context of COVID-19has been associated with low mood and anxiety as well as with a reduced quality of life and safety related issues, highlighting the need to find suitable and scalable interventions that can aid recovery of smell and taste.

The Camera-based Visual Feedback learning Aid being investigated in this project involves the use of camera-based technology for smell and taste training delivered in 6-10 sessions, over a period of 4-10 weeks. Along with changes in the sense of smell and taste in people with persistent COVID-19-related smell and/or taste impairment, the team will also examine corresponding changes in their psychological well-being.

The model/product validated through this project is likely to be beneficial in many healthcare settings, for example, people with depression or aged people at risk of dementia who have also been reported, on average, to suffer from the smell and/or taste impairment. Brunel team’s research and data validation will help Learning JBE to apply and scale up the technology for wider socioeconomic development.


Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Veena Kumari - Professor Veena Kumari obtained a PhD in Psychology from Banaras Hindu University, India in 1993 prior to joining the Institute of Psychiatry, London for post-doctoral research. She became a Beit Memorial Research Fellow in 1999, a Wellcome Senior Fellow in Basic Biomedical Science in 2002, and a Full Professor in 2006 at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (formerly known as the Institute of Psychiatry), King’s College London, UK. She left King’s College London in 2016 to join the Sovereign Health Group (USA) as the Chief Scientific Officer and returned to the UK in 2018 to join Brunel University London as Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN). Her research interests include the neurobiological effects of pharmacological and psychological treatments in psychosis, neurobiology of violence in mental illness, psychobiology of addiction, and personality and brain functioning. Prof Kumari has over 250 publications in reputed psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience journals and received various national and international awards for her research including the Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance of Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, USA (1999), research fellowship from BEIT Memorial Foundation (1999-2002), the BAP (British Association of Psychopharmacology) Clinical Psychopharmacology Prize (2002), Wellcome Senior Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Science (2002-2009), the prestigious Humboldt Research Award (2014), and most recently a Bonn International Fellowship (2020). Professor Kumari has supervised a large number of post-graduate and doctoral students and served in editor or editorial board member roles for a number of psychology and psychiatry journals.

Related Research Group(s)

Cognitive Neuroscience

Cognitive Neuroscience - Fundamental and applied research into brain function using techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG), eye-tracking, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS), infrared thermography together with psychophysics and cognitive behavioural paradigms in health and disease.


Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.


Project last modified 04/08/2022