The ethmoid bone is very delicate and is easily injured by a sharp
upward blow to the nose, such as a person might suffer by striking an
automobile dashboard in a collision. The force of a blow can drive bone
fragments through the cribriform plate into the meninges or brain tissue.
Such injuries are often evidenced by leakage of cerebrospinal fluid
into the nasal cavity, and may be followed by the spread of infection
from the nasal cavity to the brain. Blows to the head can also shear off
the olfactory nerves that pass through the ethmoid bone and cause
anosmia, an irreversible loss of the sense of smell and a great reduction
in the sense of taste (most of which depends on smell). This not
only deprives life of some of its pleasures, but can also be dangerous,
as when a person fails to smell smoke, gas, or spoiled food.