Taste perception analysis using a semantic verbal fluency task
Maria Ghemulet,1,2 Maria Baskini,3 Lambros Messinis,2,4 Eirini Mouza,1 Hariklia Proios1,5
1Department of Speech Therapy, Anagennisis (Revival) Physical Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre, Nea Raidestos, Filothei, Thessaloniki, Greece; 2Department of Speech and Language Therapy, Technological Institute of Western Greece, Patra, Greece; 3Department of Neurosurgery, Interbalkan European Medical Centre, Thessaloniki, Greece; 4Neuropsychology Section, Department of Neurology, University of Patras, Medical School, Patras, Greece; 5Department of Education and Social Policy, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece
Abstract: A verbal fluency (VF) task is a test used to examine cognitive perception. The main aim of this study was to explore a possible relationship between taste perception in the basic taste categories (sweet, salty, sour, and bitter) and subjects’ taste preferences, using a VF task in healthy and dysphagic subjects. In addition, we correlated the results of the VF task with body mass index (BMI). The hypothesis is that categorical preferences would be consistent with the number of verbal responses. We also hypothesized that higher BMI (.30 kg/m2) would correlate with more responses in either some or all four categories. VF tasks were randomly administered. Analysis criteria included number of verbally produced responses, number of clusters, number of switches, number and type of errors, and VF consistency with taste preferences. Sixty Greek-speaking individuals participated in this study. Forty-three healthy subjects were selected with a wide range of ages, sex, and education levels. Seventeen dysphagic patients were then matched with 17 healthy subjects according to age, sex, and BMI. Quantitative one-way analysis of variance (between groups as well as repeated measures), post hoc, and chi-square, and qualitative analyses were performed. In the healthy subjects’ group, the differences among the mean number of responses for the four taste categories were statistically significant. When comparing the two matched groups of healthy and dysphagic subjects, there were no statistically significant differences in the mean number of responses in the four basic taste categories. However, for both groups, most responses were generated in the following descending order: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. The bitter category presented the majority of errors for both groups. Obese subjects produced a greater mean number of responses for the “sweet,” “sour,” and “bitter” categories; conversely, underweight subjects produced a larger mean number of responses for the “salty” category, even though these differences were not statistically significant. The relationship of VF with taste perception and BMI could contribute to evidence-based knowledge that can be used for clinical practice.
Keywords: verbal fluency task, dysphagia, body measure index, taste perception, taste preferences
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