Taste and smell

Important perceptions for motivating food intake and maintaining nutrition.

In 1994 more than 2.7 million adults in the U.S. had olfactory difficulties and 1.1 million had taste disorders (Hoffman H).

Olfactory disorders increased in the elderly, with 14 million adults in the U.S. age 53-97 suffering from such problems in a 1998-2000 survey (Murphy C).

Abnormalities classified by loss of sensitivity, altered perception and hallucination.

May be altered in a number of processes including trauma, aging, infection, neural injury, medications, malnutrition and exposure to other toxic agents.

Two-thirds of patients on chemotherapy complain of altered sensory perceptions with lost of taste or complaints of metallic taste.

CD36 is a receptor in the tongue plays a role in fat connection and food preferences.

CD36 heterogeneity associated with less ability to discriminate fat and causes a dislike for low-fat and fat-free foods.

Individuals who do not discriminate fat eat more high-fat meats, sweets and breads.

Alterations in taste perception in patients with cancer can cause psychological distress of anxiety and impair nutrition.

Changes associated with a decrease in dietary intake and development of food aversion.

In most instances the specific cause of alterations cannot be identified.

Changes in taste acuity include ageusia and hypogeusia, and alterations in quality ref2241ed to as dysgeusia and phantogeusia.

Changes in taste acuity depends on site of malignancy with head and neck cancer patients reporting an abnormal taste acuity of 88.8% for one taste and 66.7% for more than one taste (Ruo Redda).

Breast cancer patients have a 21% likelihood of having taste acuity alterations and 23-25% of lung cancer patients report such complaints.

Taste sensitivity is decreased in most cancer patients, but a few have an increased sensitivity.

The chorda tympani is responsible for taste.

Abnormal taste acuity occurs with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Patients that have received radiation therapy for head and neck cancers have higher detection and recognition threshold values for sweetness, bitterness, sourness and saltiness than control groups, indicating that stronger stimuli are needed to elicit a detection sensory response.

Associated with disturbances in olfactory perception.

Associated with food aversion and xerostomia.

Adults with a poor sense of smell may see a nearly 50% increase in their risk of dying within 10 years, even in otherwise healthier older individuals (Michigan State University study): compared with older adults with a good sense of smell, those with poor smell were at a 46% higher risk for death at 10 years, and 30% at 13 years.

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