The Current Status of Evaluation Technologies for the Function of Human Olfaction

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Kim, Jang, and Kim's study "The Current Status of Evaluation Technologies for the Function of Human Olfaction" tries to analyze the roles of the olfactory systems and the technological approaches that can be used to improve the current technologies in use for medical purposes. There are currently electrophysiological tests that can be used to evaluate the olfactory functioning of the same systems, but these are based on bio-signals and medical imaging. However, the configuration of such systems seems to be more complicated though they are more reliable and can be used to diagnose more certain medical conditions affecting the olfactory operations. So the paper by Kim et. al. seeks to come up with better evaluation strategies that can lead to the adoption of better technological tools.

Right from the abstract of the paper, it is clear that coming up with such modern systems is not an easy task. To an ordinary reader (someone not in the medical field), the paper is confusing right from the beginning. The author commences the article by providing the natural background of the olfactory systems, and the role that such systems play in helping the living organisms escape from danger, fetch food or assist them in improving their lives (p. 1). In the next paragraph, the authors talk about the olfactory dysfunction in human beings and associate it with the increase in diseases among different populations. To an ordinary person this is a bit confusing since the first part was very positive, and then suddenly the olfaction process is considered to be a disease spreading factor in a case of a dysfunction. This section of the paper lacks a smooth transition between ideas as well as the flow of concepts

The article has also provided a detailed evaluation of various methods of assessing the working of the olfactory systems such as the psychophysical inspections, the Sniffin’s sticks, the smell identification tests, among others (p. 5). The coverage of such ideas is sound for a paper whose primary objective was to provide an assessment to the technological applications. The author has provided the advantages and the disadvantages associated with each method as well as the possible tests that can be used to ascertain their efficiency. In addition to the methods, the paper provides an analysis of the procedural way of carrying out each test to realize success. The graphics used to represent the results of the tests are much easier to understand and also provides an aesthetic value to the work. Furthermore, the results of the tests illustrated could be used to provide grounding for future studies in the same area.

Generally, despite the fact that the subject of the article is a technical field and hence works have been marred with a few structural issues, the author sums up the work in a very pleasant and self-explanatory manner. The author concludes the paper by admitting that the psychophysical and electrophysiological tests have their own merits and demerits (Yates, 2014). The former is, however, the most efficient for evaluating the olfactory functions (p. 7). On the other hand, electrophysiological tests are more reliable since they only rely on the interviews and questionnaires, and the odor stimulus is not represented quantitatively. The work here sounds great in the article and can be used as a foundation for further research. However, the work lacks individualized insertions since most of the work has been done before and therefore lacks originality.

Turin, L. (2014). Vibrational olfaction in flies and humans.Flavour, 3(Suppl 1), K2.

The article "Vibrational olfaction in flies and humans," was authored by Luca Turin in the year 2014 seeks to revive and prove the controversial theory on the man's ability to identify tens of thousands of odors, and the mechanisms behind such abilities. In the article, the author claims that the theory is valid and that the processes rest on two facts namely: 1. the similar responses to the deuterated isotopomers. 2. the error in man's innate ability to identify the difference in the smell between the deuterated and undeuterated musk isotopomers since impurity involved is responsible for the smell difference” (p.1).

The beginning of the paper is okay since it provides a clue on the possible chemical activities responsible for the biological processes involved in olfaction process. However, the work also has a few limitations. The author made the assumptions based on the primary data obtained from a musk receptor screen (Turin, 2014). However, an evaluation of the work can be done by running an unpaired t-test on the whole receptor as was done by (Yates, 2014). The result from this simple simulation reveals that there exist two receptors (296 and 173) believed to be responsible for the distinction between the H and D isotopomers, as opposed to one. Again, the receptor 296 was found to be an odorant in the presence of a higher background. The article by Turin did not mention the fact that the nonresponsive receptor responds mostly to deuterated isotopomers. Also, the receptor 173 was not mentioned at all. There is need therefore for the author to reexamine the two receptors since they undermine the conclusion made that vibrational theory is valid for human beings and flies.

In general, the paper was well structured and followed all the conventional ways of writing despite the fact that the conclusion required further scrutiny. The conclusion was done in such a way that communicated the transition of ideas from on paragraph to the next.


Kim, W., Jang, D., & Kim, I. (2014).The Current Status of Evaluation Technologies for the Function of Human Olfaction. Hanyang Medical Reviews, 34(3), 120.

Turin, L. (2014). Vibrational olfaction in flies and humans.Flavour, 3(Suppl 1), K2.

Yates, D. (2014). Olfaction: Critical timing in mapping olfaction. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 15(6), 348-349.

April 26, 2023
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