Traumatic brain injury’s link to olfactory deficits has been identified in the literature, but data remain limited for imaging-negative, non-lesional, mild brain injuries like concussions. Given the olfactory system’s structural proximity to the orbitofrontal cortex, dysexecutive symptoms may co-occur with olfactory deficits post-injury even in milder cases. This study evaluated the dysexecutive symptom reporting clusters in charts of patients with mild TBI (mTBI) and clinically reported diminished olfaction post-injury. An analysis of 18 mTBI patients also experiencing dysosmia from the injury was performed. Fischer`s exact test was used to test for association between categorical variables. Among clinically reported dysosmic patients with mTBI, reported processing speed deficits were significantly associated with complaints of difficulties with attention, verbal fluency, executive skills, memory, sleep, and fatigue (p < 0.05). Irritability, aggression, depression, and apathy were significantly associated with other cognitive and physical difficulties among dysosmic patients with mTBI (p < 0.05). These results suggest that mTBI patients with dysosmia experience a myriad of dysexecutive and subcortical cognitive difficulties. This is consistent with the findings from the literature including studies of more severe TBIs with visible structural lesions. Change in olfaction as a clinical marker to assess dysexecutive syndrome in such injuries should be further explored in mTBI management.
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