Impact of tDCS on persistent COVID-19 olfactory dysfunction: a double-blind sham-controlled study

Introduction

Loss of smell is a characteristic finding of COVID-19. It may outpersist the resolution of the disease, though recovery varies significantly, ranging from 15 to 180 days.1 Studies have purported central nervous system involvement in COVID-19 anosmia, mostly in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), the neural substrate for conscious olfactory perception.2 Given the high prevalence of COVID-19, an enormous number of patients worldwide are at risk of long-term loss of smell. Olfaction is essential for detecting environmental hazards and for enjoying food. Smell loss can cause mood disorders, even suicidal ideation.3 Treating olfactory dysfunction is therefore of paramount importance. Different interventions have been tried in order to alleviate COVID-19 hyposmia, but with limited efficacy.4

Non-invasive brain stimulation techniques can be deemed as a promising alternative to traditional neurorehabilitative approaches for several diseases, including smell disturbances.5 In this double-blind, sham-controlled study, we implemented…

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