Olfaction in eating disorders and abnormal eating behavior: a systematic review
The study provides a systematic review that explores the current literature on olfactory capacity in abnormal eating behavior. The objective is to present a basis for discussion on whether research in olfaction in eating disorders may offer additional insight with regard to the complex etiopathology of eating disorders (ED) and abnormal eating behaviors. Electronic databases (Medline, PsycINFO, PubMed, Science Direct, and Web of Science) were searched using the components in relation to olfaction and combining them with the components related to abnormal eating behavior. Out of 1352 articles, titles were first excluded by title (n = 64) and then by abstract and fulltext resulting in a final selection of 14 articles (820 patients and 385 control participants) for this review. The highest number of existing literature on olfaction in ED were carried out with AN patients (78.6%) followed by BN patients (35.7%) and obese individuals (14.3%). Most studies were only conducted on females. The general findings support that olfaction is altered in AN and in obesity and indicates toward there being little to no difference in olfactory capacity between BN patients and the general population. Due to the limited number of studies and heterogeneity this review stresses on the importance of more research on olfaction and abnormal eating behavior.