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Sex-related differences in olfactory function and evaluation of possible confounding factors among patients with Parkinson’s disease

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The role of specific sex-related patterns in olfactory dysfunctions of Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients is unclear. The aim of this study was to assess the presence of specific sex-related patterns in olfactory dysfunctions excluding the possibility of confounding effects in patients with Parkinson’s disease. One hundred and sixty-eight participants (99 PD patients and 69 controls) were enrolled and evaluated using Sniffin’ Sticks Extended test (SSET). There was no significant sex difference in the control group for the SSET parameters. By contrast, in the PD group male patients scored significantly lower on odor discrimination (OD), identification (OI), and Threshold-Discrimination-Identification (TDI) score than females. On multivariable linear regression analysis, the only significant predictors of TDI score were sex and apathy. Among PD patients, men showed a significantly greater impairment compared to women in OI, OD and TDI score, but not in odor threshold (OT). These findings highlighted the possible role of sex differences in the development of associated PD non-motor symptoms.

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The authors thank all the participants for their availability and Dr. Alan Moat for improving the English text. This work was supported by a grant from the University of Cagliari (Progetti di Ricerca di Interesse Dipartimentale, PRID 2017).

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Correspondence to P. Solla or C. Masala.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the local Ethics Committee (Prot. PG/2018/10157) and was performed according to the Declaration of Helsinki.

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Participants received an explanatory statement and gave their written informed consent to participate in the study.

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Solla, P., Masala, C., Liscia, A. et al. Sex-related differences in olfactory function and evaluation of possible confounding factors among patients with Parkinson’s disease. J Neurol 267, 57–63 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00415-019-09551-2

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  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Olfaction
  • Sex differences
  • Non-motor symptoms