Items in AFP with MESH term: Peripheral Nerves
ABSTRACT: Smell and taste disorders are common in the general population, with loss of smell occurring more frequently. Although these disorders can have a substantial impact on quality of life and may represent significant underlying disease, they are often overlooked by the medical community. Patients may have difficulty recognizing smell versus taste dysfunction and frequently confuse the concepts of "flavor" and "taste." While the most common causes of smell disturbance are nasal and sinus disease, upper respiratory infection and head trauma, frequent causes of taste disturbance include oral infections, oral appliances (e.g., dentures), dental procedures and Bell's palsy. Medications can interfere with smell and taste, and should be reviewed in all patients with reported dysfunction. In addition, advancing age has been associated with a natural impairment of smell and taste ability. A focused history and a physical examination of the nose and mouth are usually sufficient to screen for underlying pathology. Computed tomographic scanning or magnetic resonance imaging of affected areas, as well as commercially available standardized tests, may be useful in selected patients. The causes of olfactory dysfunction that are most amenable to treatment include obstructing polyps or other masses (treated by excision) and inflammation (treated with steroids). Enhancement of food flavor and appearance can improve quality of life in patients with irreversible dysfunction.
ABSTRACT: Peripheral nerve injury of the upper extremity commonly occurs in patients who participate in recreational (e.g., sports) and occupational activities. Nerve injury should be considered when a patient experiences pain, weakness, or paresthesias in the absence of a known bone, soft tissue, or vascular injury. The onset of symptoms may be acute or insidious. Nerve injury may mimic other common musculoskeletal disorders. For example, aching lateral elbow pain may be a symptom of lateral epicondylitis or radial tunnel syndrome; patients who have shoulder pain and weakness with overhead elevation may have a rotator cuff tear or a suprascapular nerve injury; and pain in the forearm that worsens with repetitive pronation activities may be from carpal tunnel syndrome or pronator syndrome. Specific history features are important, such as the type of activity that aggravates symptoms and the temporal relation of symptoms to activity (e.g., is there pain in the shoulder and neck every time the patient is hammering a nail, or just when hammering nails overhead?). Plain radiography and magnetic resonance imaging are usually not necessary for initial evaluation of a suspected nerve injury. When pain or weakness is refractory to conservative therapy, further evaluation (e.g., magnetic resonance imaging, electrodiagnostic testing) or surgical referral should be considered. Recovery of nerve function is more likely with a mild injury and a shorter duration of compression. Recovery is faster if the repetitive activities that exacerbate the injury can be decreased or ceased. Initial treatment for many nerve injuries is nonsurgical.