Taste acuity in pulmonary disease

J. Riskowski, S. Brewer, L. Winter, K. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive disabling disease in which weight loss is common. The underlying cause(s) for the weight loss have yet to be elucidated. As seen in cancer patients, altered taste can contribute to poor food intake. The purpose of this study was to determine if significant differences in taste acuity occur in COPD patients vs. normal reference ranges and to determine if any distortion of taste perception occurs. Inpatients and outpatients were randomly selected to participate if they were male, 65 years of age or over, within 20% of their ideal body weight, not receiving oxygen therapy, and with a forced expiratory value in 1 second >1000. Exclusion criteria included uncontrolled diabetes, renal disease, and alcohol abuse. The subjects were asked to complete three panels of a triangle taste tests. Samples consisted of five concentrations each of sodium chloride, citric acid, caffeine, or sucrose. Subjects select which of three samples (two with distilled water and one with a taste additive) is different and describe the difference. Twenty-eight subjects participated (mean age of 76). Results of taste acuity at the 50% threshold for sucrose: 0.6%; citric acid: 0.005%; sodium chloride 0.08%; caffeine: 0.07%. Therefore, these patients are most sensitive to acid and least sensitive to sucrose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)A789
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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