What is it about?

Olfactory hallucinations, which are the interpretation of smell without an actual olfactory input, are common but unfortunately not always recognized as a potentially neurological problem by medical providers or patients. Here, we describe a case with a two-year history of headaches accompanied by smelling a foul odor. The presentation eventually becomes consistent with Lewy body dementia.

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Why is it important?

This case is an example of an unusual presentation of a neurodegenerative disorder that commonly has a delay in diagnosis and/or misdiagnosis, therefore represents a teaching case that may help medical providers, patients, and family members/caregivers recognize possible Lewy body dementia sooner.


Writing this article was a great learning opportunity for me, including collaborating across different divisions within my own department (Neurology) and with other departments (Neuroscience). It incorporated collaborations from both my clinical and early research backgrounds.

Tara Carlisle
University of Colorado Denver

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Headache-Associated Phantosmia as a Harbinger of Lewy Body Dementia, Journal of Neuropsychiatry, January 2023, American Psychiatric Association, DOI: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.21110265.
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