Tag Archives: anosmia

Fifth Sense 2015 Conference Preview

The 2015 Fifth Sense conference will be taking place on 31st October and 1st November at the University of Surrey in Guildford. 

For an idea of what to expect at our conference, here’s a short video filmed at the successful 2014 event:

‘Let’s Talk Smell and Taste’
This is our theme for the 2015 conference.  We want to encourage those of you who are affected by a smell/taste-related disorder to talk about your condition and how it affects you.

The Sunday workshops will also be a good opportunity to talk about any ways you may have of coping with your condition so that everyone can learn from these shared experiences.
We’re also encouraging you to attend with your partner, or perhaps a friend or family member, so they can gain a better understanding of what it means to have a smell/taste disorder.

We’ll be carrying the ‘Let’s Talk Smell and Taste’ theme on into 2016 as part of our efforts to encourage the wider public to better appreciate these senses and become more aware of the impact that smell and taste disorders can have.

Saturday 31st October:  Clinical Information and Research Day
Day one of the conference is for anyone who wishes to find out more about smell and taste disorders, existing treatments and the possibilities that future research may bring. 
– The science of smell and taste and how both senses work
– Different types of smell and taste disorders, their causes, and potential treatments.
– Current and future research
– ‘Consultant Q&A’ session where audience members will have the opportunity to have their questions answered by Consultant ENT Surgeons Mr Carl Philpott and Mr San Sunkaraneni.
– Condition-specific group sessions for Fifth Sense members with the opportunity to have your say into how research should be directed in future
– Meet some of our volunteer Regional Coordinators (both Saturday and Sunday)

Sunday 1st November: Support and Advice Day
Day two has been designed specifically for Fifth Sense members with a strong emphasis on mutual support and workshops focused on helping you find better ways of living with your condition 
– A choice of workshops focused on different aspects of living with a smell/taste disorder led by Fifth Sense members and experts from the worlds of food, drink and fragrance
– Topics covered include: sharing olfactory experiences past and present, the language of olfactory disorders, coping with the loss of a sense, smell training, ‘Taste, Train and Enjoy’ with FlavorActiV and food and cooking tips
– There will also be open sessions running all day with no set topic or agenda – perfect if you wish to meet new people and chat
– Special lunch menu provided by the team at the University’s Lakeside Restaurant

On the Saturday evening we’ll be organising some sort of social gathering for anyone who wants to join us, details will be confirmed nearer the time.

The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH

Weekend Tickets – £114.50 (includes tea and coffee on arrival, lunch and booking fee)
Individual Day Tickets – £62.50 (includes tea and coffee on arrival, lunch and booking fee)

Accommodation is not included in the weekend ticket price above, however we will be providing details of local accommodation when tickets go on sale.

Tickets will be on sale soon.


Our Report on Anosmia Awareness Day 2015

27th February was Anosmia Awareness Day, and this year we highlighted it by running an awareness-raising campaign entitled ‘Long Lost Smell’. The campaign sought to highlight the evocative connection between smell and memory alongside the impact of smell loss.

LongLostSmellWe asked people with a sense of smell to think what it might be like to have it taken away from them, and tell us which smell they would miss the most, sharing this on twitter and Facebook using hashtag #LongLostSmell. We also asked people affected by olfactory disorders which smell they miss more than any other, or the one thing they wish they could smell. This is part of our ongoing efforts to get people talking about the sense of smell.

We’ve shared the responses on our Storify page at http://www.storify.com/fifthsenseuk/long-lost-smell and the results make for fascinating reading. We received tweets from Fifth Sense members and also many from people involved in the worlds of food, wine and fragrance. A number of fragrance organisations and writers also got involved and featured articles on their websites.

JarsOn 27th February itself, Fifth Sense’s Duncan Boak and Chrissi Kelly attended the Body and City symposium organised by urban sociologist Dr Alex Rhys-Taylor. Duncan gave a talk on how the sense of smell forms an important connection to our environment, particularly in terms of our memory. Chrissi had brought along some jars of Long Lost Smells that she asked guests to sniff and try to recognise…boot polish was recognisable to most people, but those under 30 struggled to recognise the moth balls!

We also asked people who participated in the #LongLostSmell campaign to make a donation which will go towards starting a dedicated fund to support future research into smell and taste disorders. We’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who made a donation.


Fifth Sense Member Claire Mulligan and her colleagues at Oakwood Day Service in Nuneaton (pictured left) have been wearing noseclips and red on Anosmia Awareness Day for the past few years.  Claire told us: ‘Knowing there is a charity out there that supports people with similar conditions and are striving to develop more awareness and research around this is fantastic and reassuring, it gives people the opportunity to share their stories and frustrations and feel more accepted.’

unnamed-2Following on from Anosmia Awareness Day itself, Fifth Sense’s Chrissi Kelly (third from right in the photo) appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Breakfast on 14th March, talking about her experience of losing her sense of smell. Chrissi also talked about the work she is doing around smell training, which she believes is responsible for restoring some of her olfactory ability. Chrissi’s appearance clearly struck a chord with listeners; we’ve had emails from people asking about smell training and telling us it was the first time they’d heard there is a name for their condition.

Over in the US, the Monell Chemical Senses Center were also running some activities as part of Anosmia Awareness Day, including running a seminar on the causes and treatments for anosmia to physicians in the Philadelphia Area. For more information on their activities visit their website using the link below.

We’d like to say a huge thanks to the following people and organisations for their support of Anosmia Awareness Day and Fifth Sense:

FlavorActiV Logo Spot Colour


FlavorActiV is the world’s only provider of pharmaceutical quality produced and controlled flavourstandards for use in beer, wine, cider, carbonated soft drinks, waters and many other beverages to help train professional sensory panels.

The Perfume Society produced a special report on our
#LongLostSmell activity which first appeared in their newsletter, The Scented Letter. This appears eight times a year online as a VIP Subscriber benefit to those who belong to The Perfume Society.

Click here to view The Perfume Society’s #LongLostSmell article

An independent online guide to perfume.

Get Lippie
Get Lippie, aka Louise Woollam, is a perfume and beauty blogger and Fifth Sense member who has written extensively about her experience of developing anosmia and parosmia.

Dr Alex Rhys-Taylor at Goldsmiths College
Alex Rhys-Taylor is a sociologist with a specialism in urban sociology, not to mention a great interest in the sense of smell.

MCS-logoMonell Chemical Senses Center
The Monell Center is the world’s only independent, non-profit scientific institute dedicated to interdisciplinary basic research on the senses of taste and smell.

Elena Vosnaki at The Perfume Shrine
An award-winning independent online publication focusing on perfumery.

Volatile Fiction
The fragrance blog of Finnish perfumer Pia Long.

And a special thanks to Daniel Schein who first started Anosmia Awareness Day and without whom, of course, none of this would have happened.  Visit the Facebook page he runs at https://www.facebook.com/AnosmiaAwarenessDay

Fifth Sense 2014 Conference Report


We’re very pleased to report on the success of the second annual Fifth Sense conference, which represented a significant milestone in our efforts to provide support and advice to our community of people affected by smell and taste disorders.

Mr Sunkaraneni explains the anatomy of the human olfactory system

Mr Sunkaraneni explains the anatomy of the human olfactory system

Over 100 Fifth Sense members joined delegates from the academic community and fragrance industry at the University of Surrey in Guildford for a rich, thought-provoking, and at times quite emotional day.

The conference was delivered in partnership with the University of Surrey and Royal Surrey County Hospital, and supported by FlavorActiV Ltd, the world’s only provider of pharmaceutical quality flavour standards used across the beverage industry for sensory training and validation.

ConsQAWe were able to draw on the expertise within our own organisation and beyond in designing and delivering the programme, which was focused on providing information, support and advice to Fifth Sense members, and anyone with an interest in the senses of smell, taste and related disorders. We also designed the conference to be a platform for taking aspects of our work forwards, whether identifying areas for future research or ways in which we can better support our members.

Guests discuss the quality of life impact of smell disorders

Guests discuss the quality of life impact of smell disorders

During the opening session, after a welcome from Fifth Sense Founder Duncan Boak and Prof Roberto La Ragione of the University of Surrey, Consultant ENT Surgeon Mr Sankalp Sunkaraneni provided an overview of the function and importance of the senses of smell and taste. Mr Sunkaraneni runs a sinus clinic at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. He was followed by Dr Augusto Coppi from the University’s Veterinary School, who compared smell and taste in the human and animal kingdoms, and talked about how research being undertaken into the sense of smell in animals may enable us to better understand the human olfactory system. And then it was on to the morning workshops…

The workshops provided a mixture of information, practical advice and support, and group learning. ENT Consultant Surgeons Miss Lisha McClelland, Mr Carl Philpott and Mr Sankalp Sunkaraneni contributed their expertise to a number of workshops on the clinical aspects of smell and taste disorders, including Q&A sessions where guests had the opportunity to ask the clinicians questions on the issues that matter to them.


Fifth Sense members Tom Laughton and Charlotte Self along with Katy Kennedy from the University of Surrey delivered workshops that explored the quality of life consequences of sensory loss, with Charlotte and Katy focusing on the impact that olfactory disorders can have on relationships.


Victoria Moore and FlavorActiV’s Liam Singleton prepare for the ‘Taste Vs Flavour’ workshop

Finding ways of improving the eating experience for people affected by smell and taste disorders was also on the agenda. The Daily Telegraph’s Wine Editor Victoria Moore teamed up with Dr Boris Gadzov, Director of Global Sensory Management, from sensory experts FlavorActiV to explore the differences between taste and flavour, and how this knowledge can be beneficial to people who have a problem with their sense of smell. Meanwhile, Fifth Sense’s Duncan Boak talked about using the other senses to compensate for his loss of smell when cooking, with the University of Surrey’s Dr Michelle Gibbs providing nutritional advice.

Fifth Sense 2014 Conference Programme Further details on the workshops can be found in the conference programme, here.

Lunch1The lunch menu was designed by Duncan Boak (who runs a food website at              www.experienceeating.co.uk) and the University’s Head Chef John Walter, who handled the challenge of delivering an enjoyable lunch for smell and taste disorder sufferers with aplomb. John and his team delivered an array of dishes that made full use of texture, strong tastes and flavours, and some spices to warm things up a bit. The meal was rounded off with an elderflower and damson gin sorbet, for which John had foraged the fruit himself. You can view the menu here.

Si McCabe (left) talks taste with some of the guests

Si McCabe (left) talks taste with some of the guests

Our guests even had the opportunity to try some delicious beers alongside their curry, courtesy of Si McCabe, Brewer at the One Mile End brewery in Whitechapel, London.  Si brought with him some beers that had strong basic tastes, such as his Salvation Pale Ale (bitter) and Snakecharmer IPA (rich caramel sweetness).

Following the afternoon workshops, Consultant ENT Surgeon Mr Carl Philpott gave a talk on current research activity in relation to smell and taste-related disorders in the UK, and how this might develop in future with the support of Fifth Sense and its members.

The Future of Fifth Sense, with David Hunt and Duncan Boak

The Future of Fifth Sense, with David Hunt and Duncan Boak

The final session, entitled ‘Fifth Sense: The Future’ was run by Fifth Sense’s Duncan Boak and David Hunt, and was an opportunity for everyone present to put forward their ideas for how Fifth Sense develop its work going forwards. This was an incredibly positive and inspiring way in which to end the conference, with a wealth of contributions, suggestions, and offers of assistance from guests. Fifth Sense’s Barbara Brady acted as scribe and did an excellent job of keeping pace with the wealth of feedback and ideas.

Fifth Sense's Chrissi Kelly leads the Smell Training workshop

Fifth Sense’s Chrissi Kelly leads the Smell Training workshop

We very much feel that the conference fulfilled our objectives, firstly in providing information and support to our members, and making them feel part of a community that understands and cares. We also feel that the other key objective, for the conference to be a platform for our work in future, was also met. We are already talking to staff at the University of Surrey about potential areas of research, whilst the feedback from members given on the day and since is of course going to be taken into account as we continue to plan our LunchAerialwork for 2015 and beyond. One thing we can certainly say is that Fifth Sense’s 2015 conference will be bigger and better again, and that will be in no small part to the contributions of everyone who was a part this year’s very special event.

Some quotes from guests who attended the conference:

‘It has been great to meet others with similar conditions and experiences – a first for me and very encouraging.’ Anne Hesketh, Fifth Sense member

‘We need to continue to raise the profile of the vital senses of taste and smell and Fifth Sense is brilliant for this…this is pioneering work. Thank you so much.’ Elizabeth Draper, Fifth Sense member

‘Being a Fifth Sense Member means I’m part of a growing group of people who are going to do something about providing a voice for the nose.’ Mark Griffiths, Fifth Sense member (read Mark’s blog post here in which he talks more about developing a vocabulary for olfactory disorders)

‘FlavorActiV are proud supporters of Fifth Sense. As a company dedicated to sensory training in the beverage industry, we are acutely aware of the challenges of improving tasting ability. We also appreciate, and to some extent understand, how demoralising and debilitating the loss of either sense can be to an individual. Therefore to support and attend this conference is important to our organisation so that we can listen and learn from Fifth Sense members about their experiences. By gathering and utilising this vital information, and combining it with our own considerable sensory experience in the beverage industry, we can look to see how we can support Fifth Sense through flavour production, sensory training, research initiatives, harnessing our extensive customer base, and financing and fundraising activities. This was an exciting day for FlavorActiV, and we look forward to a long and fruitful collaboration with Fifth Sense.’ Richard Boughton, FlavorActiV CEO

Lunch2We would like to say a huge thank you to the following people, who helped make the 2015 Fifth Sense Conference such a special occasion…

Julia Gerhold, John Walter, Rhian Jones and the rest of the team at the University of Surrey, the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Dr Boris Gadzov, Liam Singleton, Richard Boughton and the rest of the FlavorActiV team, Duncan Boak, Barbara Brady, Dr Augusto Coppi, Dr Michelle Gibbs, David Hunt, Katy Kennedy, Chrissi Kelly, Tom Laughton, Prof Roberto La Ragione, Si McCabe, Miss Lisha McClelland, Victoria Moore, Sarah Page, Mr Carl Philpott, Sylvia Popham, Alex Reilly, Charlotte Self, Mr San Sunkaraneni….and, of course, to all the guests who joined us on the day.

All photographs courtesy of Sarah Kathleen Page: http://www.sarahkathleenpage.co.uk

Fifth Sense at the International Fragrance Association UK Fragrance Forum

IFRAUKlogoEmotion is key to the marketing of so many fragrances. We often hear references to lust, desire and even envy associated with marketing of fragrances. “These words are liberally sprayed around the fragrance halls of department stores. But do people really understand just how critical the sense of smell is to our emotional make up and psychological wellbeing?” asks Fifth Sense’s Duncan Boak, speaker at the IFRA UK Fragrance Forum which is being held on 16th October 2014.

The International Fragrance Association represents the fragrance industry on a global scale and promotes the safe creation, development and enjoyment of fragrance on behalf of its members.

Duncan will be drawing upon the experiences of Fifth Sense members to demonstrate just how important the sense of smell is to so many aspects of our lives, using statistics and comments from the recently published ‘Impact of Olfactory Disorders in the UK‘ research paper.

Click here to view the press release for the IFRA UK Fragrance Forum.

To find out more about IFRA in the UK, visit http://www.ifrauk.org

Fifth Sense visits the Lambeth and Southwark branch of Mind, the mental health charity

MIND_Lambethandsouthwark_LMA_Stack_RGB_blue_on_yellowFifth Sense’s Duncan Boak recently attended the Annual General Meeting of the Lambeth and Southwark branch of Mind, the mental health charity.  Duncan was there to learn about the work that Mind does in supporting people with mental health problems on a local level, and speak to those present about the work that Fifth Sense is doing on behalf of people affected by disorders of the senses of smell and taste.

Duncan was invited along by Kelly Boughtflower, Information Service Advisor at the branch, whose mum Patricia lost her sense of smell several years ago, and is now awaiting for an appointment with a specialist as a result of getting information from Fifth Sense.

Olfactory disorders can have a major impact on the emotional and psychological wellbeing of those affected by them, causing depression and feelings of isolation, something that at present isn’t widely known.  Mind exist to ensure that people don’t have to face mental illness alone, and we hope that developing links between our respective organisations can ultimately benefit people whose lives have been impacted by smell and taste disorders.

For more information visit www.lambethandsouthwarkmind.org.uk

Follow them on Twitter: @LS_Mind 

Published Research from Fifth Sense – The Impact of Olfactory Disorders in the UK

We’re very pleased to be able to announce the publication of the first piece of research that Fifth Sense and our members have directly contributed to.

Chemical Senses journal have published a paper co-authored by Mr Carl Philpott, Senior Lecturer at UEA and Director of the Smell and Taste Clinic at James Paget Hospital, and Fifth Sense Founder Duncan Boak.

The Impact of Olfactory Disorders in the United Kingdom is drawn from the first 496 responses to the ongoing ‘Quality of Life Impact of Smell and Taste Disorders’ survey amongst the Fifth Sense membership.

To view the paper’s abstract and to obtain a copy of the full text, visit the Oxford Journals website here.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank all Fifth Sense members who have completed the survey and played their part in helping us make an important step forward in research into smell and taste-related disorders.

Design with Scents 2014

Design with Scents is the world’s only workshop focused on the design of a fragrance for a specific space or environment.   The week-long programme includes an in-depth look at how fragrances are designed, including the different scent families and ingredients used in fragrance manufacture.  Fifth Sense Founder Duncan Boak studied the course in 2013 ( see the very first  post on our blog here), and returned this year as one of the speakers, whilst Fifth Sense’s Smell Training lead member Chrissi Kelly was one of the students, on what was for her a very important olfactory journey.  Here’s her report on Design with Scents 2014.

I attended this course at the suggestion of Duncan Boak, founder of Fifth Sense. I became anosmic two years ago and since then have struggled to regain only a tiny amount of my previous ability to smell.

At the recommendation of my ENT, I began smell training last year. The results of this have been of great interest to me, and from the beginning I kept detailed records about my response to it. I am now heading up a program within Fifth Sense on this subject. I have so far used myself as guinea pig, trying all kinds of methods to find the best way to achieve improvement through training. I felt that I might learn some techniques for smell training from the perfume industry. Until now I have been using the basic technique described by German ENT specialist Thomas Hummel (using lemon, eucalyptus, clove and rose). His research study showed that smell training was of benefit to people with anosmia or hyposmia.

My ability to discern and differentiate between odour objects changed dramatically in the week of the workshop. I do know what has happened, only that I after one week I was suddenly aware of all the smells we used in our classroom work. I would describe it like this: whereas before the course I was able to detect the presence of smells, they were very mixed and difficult to pick apart, rather like putting food into a processor and whizzing everything around until it is an unrecognisable paste. Having spent the week smelling, discussing and training, I am able to pick out the individual notes again, as if my olfactory receptors have started doing their specialist jobs (receiving one odour molecule) rather than poorly interpreting the odour objects, and sending a “grey noise” message.

The course also introduced me to the idea of “fragrances” that are not necessarily appealing, but are nonetheless part of the smellscape. These include sulphurous compounds (onions, garlic, the smell of natural gas), chemical smells (such as glue), natural smells from the environment (earth, mould), and animal smells. These smells are just as important to train with as “fragrances”. Consider how important it would be to train with the smell of natural gas, and be able to detect a life-threatening leak. My own experience has shown me that training intensely with certain families of smells, for instance wood essences, sensitised me to the woody fragrances we used in the Design with Scents Workshop. So one of the more useful ideas for going forward that I gained from my week is the idea of training with these non-fragrant smells.

The Design with Scents Workshop has been an important milestone in my smell training. I will continue and hope to tailor what I have learned to make it useful to other FS members. I am extremely grateful to the DwS tutors for their interest in FS and my case, as well as their helpful suggestions.

Chrissi Kelly

For more information on Design with Scents visit http://designwithscents.com

For more information on Smell Training, visit http://www.fifthsense.org.uk/smell-training