Silke Steinbach1 , Walter Hundt2, Andreas Vaitl3, Petra Heinrich4, Stefan Förster3, Katharina Bürger5 and Thomas Zahnert1
Smell and Taste Clinic, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Technical University, Fetscherstr. 74, 01307 Dresden, Germany
Department of Clinical Radiology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
Department of Nuclear Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, Institut für medizinische Statistik und Epidemiologie, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Munich, Germany
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
Received: 15 February 2009 Revised:27 July 2009 Accepted: 14 August 2009 Published online: 1 September 2009
Abstract In this prospective study we investigated the quantitative and qualitative taste function of patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). 29 healthy, elderly subjects, 29 MCI and 30 AD patients were tested using a validated taste test, the "taste strips". Additionally, odor identification, odor discrimination, odor threshold, the mini-mental state examination (MMSE) and Apo E epsilon 4 status were examined. Regarding taste, there was a significant reduction of total taste scores and also the score for individual tastes on either side of the tongue between controls and MCI/AD patients. There was no significant difference in the taste scores between MCI and AD patients. A taste test may be a useful procedure for differentiating between healthy subjects and patients with MCI/AD in a clinical context. For diagnosing MCI versus AD, further tests such as smell test, MMSE, Apo E epsilon 4 status, FDG-PET and MRI appear to be useful.