Brief Report: Odour Awareness in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Hirokazu KumazakiEmail author
  • Masako Okamoto
  • Yuko Yoshimura
  • Takashi Ikeda
  • Chiaki Hasegawa
  • Daisuke N. Saito
  • Ryoichiro Iwanaga
  • Sara Tomiyama
  • Kyung-min An
  • Yoshio Minabe
  • Mitsuru Kikuchi
Brief Report


The elucidation of odour awareness in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is important. We compared the odour awareness of young children with ASD with those of typical development (TD) children using the Children’s Olfactory Behavior in Everyday Life (COBEL) questionnaire, which is a self-report measure that mainly assesses odour awareness. Forty-five young boys (aged 5–6 years), including 20 children with ASD and 25 TD children, participated in this study. The total COBEL score of the young children with ASD was lower than that of the TD children (p < 0.01). Moreover, the total COBEL score was significantly correlated with the total VABS II score (p < 0.05). Our results improve understanding of the odour awareness in children with ASD.


Autism spectrum disorders Olfactory Odour awareness Self-report VABS II 



We have no financial relationships to disclose. The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the participants.

Author contributions

HK designed the study, conducted the experiment, performed the statistical analyses, analysed and interpreted the data, and drafted the manuscript. MO, YY, TI, CH, DS, RI, ST, AK, YM and MK conceived the study, participated in its design, assisted with the data collection and scoring of the behavioural measures, analysed and interpreted the data, participated in the drafting of the manuscript and critically revised the manuscript for important intellectual content. MK was involved in the final approval of the version to be published. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


Funding was provided by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Grant No. 15K21031), the ERATO Touhara Chemosensory Signal Project and the Center of Innovation Program from the Japan Science and Technology Agency, JST, Japan.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures involving human participants were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Participants were recruited from Kanazawa University. After a complete explanation of the study, all the participants and their parents provided written, informed consent. All participants and their parents agreed to participate in the study.

Supplementary material

10803_2018_3710_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hirokazu Kumazaki
    • 1
    Email author
  • Masako Okamoto
    • 2
  • Yuko Yoshimura
    • 1
  • Takashi Ikeda
    • 1
  • Chiaki Hasegawa
    • 1
  • Daisuke N. Saito
    • 1
  • Ryoichiro Iwanaga
    • 3
  • Sara Tomiyama
    • 1
  • Kyung-min An
    • 1
  • Yoshio Minabe
    • 1
  • Mitsuru Kikuchi
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Center for Child Mental DevelopmentKanazawa UniversityKanazawaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Applied Biological Chemistry, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Occupational Therapy, Graduate School of Health SciencesNagasaki UniversityNagasakiJapan

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