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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Jul;1170:543-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04103.x.

Measuring taste impairment in epidemiologic studies: the Beaver Dam Offspring Study.

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1
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53726-2336, USA. cruickshanks@episense.wisc.edu

Abstract

Taste or gustatory function may play an important role in determining diet and nutritional status and therefore indirectly impact health. Yet there have been few attempts to study the spectrum of taste function and dysfunction in human populations. Epidemiologic studies are needed to understand the impact of taste function and dysfunction on public health, to identify modifiable risk factors, and to develop and test strategies to prevent clinically significant dysfunction. However, measuring taste function in epidemiologic studies is challenging and requires repeatable, efficient methods that can measure change over time. Insights gained from translating laboratory-based methods to a population-based study, the Beaver Dam Offspring Study (BOSS) will be shared. In this study, a generalized labeled magnitude scale (gLMS) method was used to measure taste intensity of filter paper disks saturated with salt, sucrose, citric acid, quinine, or 6-n-propylthiouracil, and a gLMS measure of taste preferences was administered. In addition, a portable, inexpensive camera system to capture digital images of fungiform papillae and a masked grading system to measure the density of fungiform papillae were developed. Adult children of participants in the population-based Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, are eligible for this ongoing study. The parents were residents of Beaver Dam and 43-84 years of age in 1987-1988; offspring ranged in age from 21-84 years in 2005-2008. Methods will be described in detail and preliminary results about the distributions of taste function in the BOSS cohort will be presented.

PMID:
19686191
PMCID:
PMC2729771
DOI:
10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04103.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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