Testing the First Cranial Nerve (The Olfactory Nerve) – Part 1
The olfactory nerve conveys the sense of smell to appropriate centers of the cerebral cortex via olfactory receptors located in the superior nasal septum. Smell is properly tested through the use of non-irritating volatile oils or liquids. Examples of these substances include oil of wintergreen, oil of cloves, eucalyptus, oil of cinnamon, vanilla, and anise.
The correct way to administer the test is to have the patient close their eyes and then occlude one nostril. The patient then inhales deeply with the stimulant held close to the open nostril. The fact that the patient can sense an odor is more important than being able to identify the particular stimulant.
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