Drowning in perfume but still can't smell yourself? Maybe you're suffering from the blues, for a new study has suggested that women who are depressed lose their sense of smell.
The study, led by Yehuda Shoenfeld, a member of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, has linked depression to a biological mechanism that affects the olfactory glands.
"Our scientific findings suggest that women who are depressed are also losing their sense of smell, and may overcompensate by using more perfume. We also believe that depression has biological roots and may be an immune system response to certain physiological cues," Shoenfeld said.
He added that with a reduced sense of smell, they are less likely to have a healthy appetite resulting in weight loss.
The findings were based on conclusion made from lifetime research on autoimmune diseases, focusing on conditions such as lupus, arthritis and rheumatism.
In lupus patients and those with other autoimmune diseases, a particle known as an "autoantibody" attacks the person's own immune system, appearing in the human body as an aberrant reaction to autoimmune diseases.
"This particle is a real novelty. We have found that, when generated, it weakens a person's sense of smell and can induce the feeling of depression," Shoenfeld said.
"People who are depressed seem to respond well to aromatherapy. Certain smells seem to help them overcome the effects of the biological factors, suggesting that depression may have a biological cause," he added.
Shoenfeld also suggested that a standardized "smell test" could be used by doctors to help diagnose depression as well as autoimmune diseases.
The study is published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.