A study about the frequency of taste disorders
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Welge-Lüssen, A., Dörig, P., Wolfensberger, M. et al. J Neurol (2011) 258: 386. doi:10.1007/s00415-010-5763-5
- 483 Downloads
Although 5% of the general population exhibit a functional anosmia, little is known about the frequency of gustatory disorders. Whenever taste function has been tested within large sociodemographic studies, so far only short test versions were applied making the interpretation difficult. Using two psychophysical taste tests, the validated “taste strips” and suprathreshold taste solutions of the four basic tastes sweet, sour, salty and bitter we investigated 761 healthy subjects within the age range of 5–89 years. Prior to testing, all subjects rated their taste function. According to testing with the taste strips, 5.3% scored below the result considered as hypogeusia. All four taste sprays were correctly identified by 82.3% of all subjects. Results of the two taste tests correlated positively (r = 0.33, p < 0.001), and there was a significant negative correlation between age and test results. However, we never observed complete ageusia. Misinterpretations of tastes were surprisingly common. In summary, hypogeusia was present in 5% while complete ageusia seems to be very rare, in contrast to misinterpretations of tastes.