Back to Browse Journals » Clinical Interventions in Aging » Volume 8

Taste loss in hospitalized multimorbid elderly subjects

Authors Toffanello ED, Inelmen EM, Imoscopi A, Perissinotto E, Coin A, Miotto F, Donini LM, Cucinotta D, Barbagallo M, Manzato E, Sergi G

Received 29 August 2012

Accepted for publication 26 October 2012

Published 13 February 2013 Volume 2013:8 Pages 167—174


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

ED Toffanello,1 EM Inelmen,1 A Imoscopi,1 E Perissinotto,2 A Coin,1 F Miotto,1 LM Donini,3 D Cucinotta,4 M Barbagallo,5 E Manzato,1 G Sergi1

1Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Geriatrics Division and University of Padova, Padova, 2Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, University of Padua, Padua, Italy; 3Department of Medical Physiopathology (Food Science Section), University of Roma, La Sapienza, Roma, 4S Orsola Malpighi Hospital, Bologna, 5Geriatric Unit, Department of Internal Medicine and Emerging Diseases, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy

Background: Loss of the sense of taste is common among older people. Morbidities and polypharmacy may contribute to the age-related decline in gustatory function. The aims of the present study were to investigate taste perception in elderly hospitalized patients by comparing their taste recognition thresholds with those of healthy, free-living elderly individuals and to identify potential determinants of taste loss.
Methods: The participants in this observational study were 55 elderly patients hospitalized in the acute geriatric section of the Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences at Padova University and 41 free-living individuals aged older than 65 years, randomly recruited from elderly people attending mild fitness programs at public gymnasiums in Padova. Data were collected on nutrition, health, cognitive, and functional status for all participants. Gustatory capabilities were assessed using aqueous solutions of sucrose, sodium chloride, citric acid, and quinine hydrochloride (representing sweet, salty, sour, and bitter stimuli, respectively), and taste recognition thresholds were measured in both groups.
Results: In comparison with the free-living elderly subjects, those in hospital were significantly less able to recognize the taste of citric acid (P < 0.05). Low citric acid sensitivity was independently associated with advanced age (≥75 years; odds ratio [OR] 3.01, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01–9.82), polypharmacy (number of prescribed drugs ≥ 4; OR 2.74, 95% CI 1.01–7.72), and poor nutritional status (as assessed by Mini Nutritional Assessment score < 23.5; OR 5.08, 95% CI 1.76–14.6).
Conclusion: Because gustatory impairment may reduce a person's appetite and lead to inadequate dietary intake, compensatory nutritional measures, such as the use of flavor-enhanced foods, should be strongly encouraged, particularly in the hospital setting.

Keywords: taste thresholds, taste loss, hospitalized elderly, sour stimuli, polypharmacy, malnutrition

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]


Readers of this article also read:

Green synthesis of water-soluble nontoxic polymeric nanocomposites containing silver nanoparticles

Prozorova GF, Pozdnyakov AS, Kuznetsova NP, Korzhova SA, Emel’yanov AI, Ermakova TG, Fadeeva TV, Sosedova LM

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2014, 9:1883-1889

Published Date: 16 April 2014

Single- and multiple-dose pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and safety of apixaban in healthy Chinese subjects [Corrigendum]

Cui Y, Song Y, Wang J, Yu Z, Schuster A, Barrett YC, Frost C

Clinical Pharmacology: Advances and Applications 2014, 6:61-62

Published Date: 27 March 2014

Methacrylic-based nanogels for the pH-sensitive delivery of 5-Fluorouracil in the colon

Ashwanikumar N, Kumar NA, Nair SA, Kumar GS

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:5769-5779

Published Date: 15 November 2012

A novel preparation method for silicone oil nanoemulsions and its application for coating hair with silicone

Hu Z, Liao M, Chen Y, Cai Y, Meng L, Liu Y, Lv N, Liu Z, Yuan W

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:5719-5724

Published Date: 12 November 2012

Cross-linked acrylic hydrogel for the controlled delivery of hydrophobic drugs in cancer therapy

Deepa G, Thulasidasan AK, Anto RJ, Pillai JJ, Kumar GS

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:4077-4088

Published Date: 27 July 2012

Particle size reduction to the nanometer range: a promising approach to improve buccal absorption of poorly water-soluble drugs

Rao S, Song Y, Peddie F, Evans AM

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2011, 6:1245-1251

Published Date: 20 June 2011

Crystallization after intravitreal ganciclovir injection

Pitipol Choopong, Nattaporn Tesavibul, Nattawut Rodanant

Clinical Ophthalmology 2010, 4:709-711

Published Date: 14 July 2010