Odour and taste identification abilitites of Austrian elderly

Dorota Majchrzak, Doris Neller

Aging is linked with alterations in all sense modalities. Losses of taste and smell are common in the elderly and caused by different factors. The aim of the present study was to assess the odour and taste identification abilities in Austrian elderly. The investigated collective consisted of 151 individuals aged 55-95 years. The subjects were divided into four age groups: 55-64, 65-74, 75-84, >84 years. As a control group 49 subjects aged 22-40 years were examined. The sense of smell was measured with screening 12 Sniffin’ Sticks test (Burghart Company) and the sense of taste was evaluated by recognition test for the 4 basic tastes according to DIN-standard 10961. The obtained results show a reduction of smell and taste perception with aging. There was a significant difference (p<0.001) in olfaction and taste perception between all age groups of the investigated collective and the control group. The differences of smell perception were observed also among the investigated subjects: The age groups 75-84 and >84-years differed significantly (p<0.001) from the group aged 55-64 and 65-74-years. The recognition threshold for 4 basic tastes were significantly lower (p<0.05) in subjects aged 75-84-years in comparison to the subjects of 55-64 and 65-74-years of age. The subjects above 84-years had significantly (p<0.001) reduced capacity to recognize the basic tastes even at suprathreshold concentrations than the participants of the other three age groups. The reduction of smell and taste perception with aging in the present study was caused by the aging process, medication, wearing dental prosthesis and a dry mouth. The development of products particularly for this age group is the imaginable task in order to accommodate these changes and improve the quality of life of older people.

Department für Ernährungswissenschaften
Externe Organisation(en)
Universität Wien
ÖFOS 2012
303009 Ernährungswissenschaften
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