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Altered grey matter volume in 'super smellers'.

Authors
  • Wabnegger, Albert1
  • Schlintl, Carina1
  • Höfler, Carina1
  • Gremsl, Andreas1
  • Schienle, Anne2
  • 1 Clinical Psychology, BioTechMed Graz, University of Graz, Universitätsplatz 2, 8010, Graz, Austria. , (Austria)
  • 2 Clinical Psychology, BioTechMed Graz, University of Graz, Universitätsplatz 2, 8010, Graz, Austria. [email protected] , (Austria)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Brain Imaging and Behavior
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2019
Volume
13
Issue
6
Pages
1726–1732
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11682-018-0008-9
PMID: 30535625
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

'Super smellers' are those individuals who show a heightened sense of smell. Data on the structural neuroanatomy of this phenomenon are still missing. A voxel-based morphometry study was conducted in order to compare gray matter volume (GMV) in specific brain regions of the olfactory network (piriform/entorhinal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, insula, hippocampus) between 25 male 'super smellers' and 20 normosmic men. Participants were assigned to these groups based on their scores on a standardized olfactory performance test. Relative to normosmic men, 'super smellers' showed increased GMV in the anterior insula and in the hippocampus (dentate gyrus). These regions are crucial for the integration of olfactory information as well as odor learning and odor memory. Moreover, positive correlations between hippocampal volume and olfactory performance were detected in both groups. Future research should elaborate on how much of the observed neuroanatomical pattern of 'super smellers' is genetic and how much of it reflects experienced-based GMV increase.

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