INTRODUCTION Different studies on normal and pathological ageing have shown structural and functional impairment by means of psychophysical measures, electrophysiological studies and brain imaging studies. Lower sensory perception from peripheral olfactory structures, together with alterations in the medulla oblongata and cortex, are the most frequent causes of olfactory impairment in ageing.
AIM To outline the most important tests that can be applied in clinical evaluation. DEVELOPMENT. The article begins by reviewing concepts involved in olfactory anatomy and physiology and then goes on to describe the different methods of examination and their applicability to medical diagnosis.