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Early Hum Dev. 2017 Nov;114:31-34. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2017.09.012. Epub 2017 Sep 9.

Smell and taste in the preterm infant.

Author information

1
Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand; Newborn Services, National Women's Health, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand. Electronic address: f.bloomfield@auckland.ac.nz.
2
Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand; Neonatal Unit, Middlemore Hospital, Counties Manukau Health, Auckland, New Zealand. Electronic address: t.alexander@auckland.ac.nz.
3
Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. Electronic address: m.muelbert@auckland.ac.nz.
4
Department of Newborn Services, Mater Mothers' Hospital, Brisbane, QLD, Australia; Mater Research Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Electronic address: Friederike.Beker@mater.org.au.

Abstract

Olfaction and gustation are critical for the enjoyment of food but also have important metabolic roles, initiating the cephalic phase response that sets in train secretion of hormones important for metabolism and digestion before any food is actually ingested. Smell and taste receptors are functional in the fetus and there is evidence for antenatal learning of odours. Despite enteral nutrition and metabolism being major issues in the care of very preterm infants, often little consideration is given to the potential role of smell and taste in supporting these processes, or in the role they may have in encoding hypothalamic circuitry in a way that promotes healthy metabolism in the post‑neonatal period. This review will discuss the evidence for the role of smell and taste in the newborn infant.

KEYWORDS:

Development; Metabolism; Olfaction

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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