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Dr. Isaac Schmale's Interview with Channel 13

Smell Re-training After COVID-19

"People are not only depressed when they're symptomatic but they kind of feel hopeless," says Dr. Isaac Schmale, an ear, nose and throat surgeon at URMC. He has additional training in rhinology, a sub-specialty focused on the nasal cavity and sinuses.

Loss of smell, known as anosmia, can be caused by many things, including polyps, injuries or viruses. When the cause is viral, as with Covid-19, the science of what happens and how to fix it, is still in its early stages.

"What we think happens is that the area in the nose where smell happens, or high up in the nose, is damaged," explains Dr. Schmale. "The lining there, the pathway from your nose to your brain, there's damage. They don't know everything about it yet but that's the theory."

It is thought that most people will regain some or all of their sense of smell within a few weeks or a month after the infection. But between 5% and 10% will suffer long-term loss, and that's where Dr. Schmale says a kind of physical therapy for the nose might help.

"The goal is to either help the body regenerate, we don't know how much that's happening, or just get the most out of the system that's left. Find new ways for your brain to adapt to what signals are left."

Dr. Schmale says early findings indicate smell retraining is helping about half of the people with profound, long-term, loss of smell caused by a viral infection.


Dr. Sveta Karelsky's Interview with News 8

Inspire Device designed to stop sleep apnea and improve your sleep

“Obstructive sleep apnea is a very common condition in which our breathing during sleep is interrupted due to obstruction or collapse of the throat, which we also call the airway,” explained Dr. Karelsky. “This can lead to a number of very negative consequences and risks to your health – ranging from being sleepy and fatigued to exacerbating things like high blood pressure, diabetes, and even the increased risk of stroke. The most common treatment typically offered is a continuous positive airway pressure device or a CPAP mask, which a lot of people are familiar with, but this can be quite a challenging treatment to tolerate. And what we found is that part of the cause of obstructive sleep apnea is excessive relaxation of the muscles of the throat or airway and that’s precisely what the Inspire Device or the upper airway stimulator is designed to help with. It’s designed to help improve that muscle tone while it’s on in a patient who is sleeping with obstructive sleep apnea.”