Solvent-associated olfactory dysfunction: Not a predictor of deficits in learning and memory

B. S. Schwartz, D. P. Ford, K. I. Bolla, J. Agnew, M. L. Bleecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate associations between olfactory dysfunction and aberrations in learning and memory after chronic occupational exposure to mixed hydrocarbon solvents. Method: This was a cross-sectional, epidemiologic study of 187 paint manufacturing workers. The authors administered quantitative tests of olfactory function (the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test) and neurobehavioral function (eight computer- and examiner-administered tests of learning and memory) to workers for whom detailed information was available on lifetime occupational exposure to solvents. Results: Olfactory function test scores were positively correlated with performance on seven of eight of the tests of learning and memory in bivariate analyses. After adjustment for important confounding variables (i.e., age, vocabulary score, and cumulative exposure to hydrocarbon solvents) with multiple linear regression, olfactory function scores predicted performance only on the Wechsler Memory Scale Delayed Logical Memory test. Conclusions: Overall, the data did not reveal that olfactory dysfunction was correlated with decrements in various memory functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-756
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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