Absent orbitofrontal cortex activation in persistent cacosmia and cacogeusia following COVID-19

Takeaway

  • Central olfactory pathway impairment, largely involving the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), may play a role in the underlying etiology of persistent gustatory and olfactory symptoms in patients after COVID-19 infection.

Why this matters

  • Olfactory and gustatory dysfunction are established correlates of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); however, investigation of the underlying corresponding neural mechanisms using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in these patients is uncommon.

  • The potential role of the OFC in gustatory and olfactory symptoms in COVID-19 highlights the importance of imaging in elucidating underlying mechanisms of this illness. Little is known about persistent COVID-19 effects, thus multimodal research is valuable for both greater understanding, and development of treatment strategies for patients going forward.