Olfactory and gustatory functioning and food preferences of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment compared to controls: the NUDAD project

AS Doorduijn, MAE de van der Schueren, Ondine van de Rest, FA de Leeuw, JLP Fieldhouse, MI Kester, CE Teunissen, P Scheltens, WM van der Flier, M Visser, S Boesveldt

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Our aim is to compare olfactory and gustatory function and food preferences of patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) with controls. We included 22 patients with MCI, 30 patients with AD and 40 controls and assessed olfactory threshold, odor discrimination and odor identification (Sniffin’ Sticks), gustatory functioning (Taste Strips), and food preferences (Macronutrient and Taste Preference Ranking Task). Linear regression analyses were used to study associations of five cognitive domains or AD biomarkers with olfactory functioning. Groups did not differ in olfactory threshold, gustatory function and food preferences. Patients with MCI and AD scored lower on odor discrimination and identification than controls. Poorer memory, but no other cognitive domain, was associated with poorer odor discrimination and odor identification, but not with odor threshold. No associations with AD biomarkers were found. In conclusion, patients with MCI and AD have poorer odor discrimination and identification ability than controls, but similar detection thresholds. This is likely a consequence of poorer memory rather than directly caused by AD pathology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-152
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Cognition
  • Dementia
  • Malnutrition
  • Older adults

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