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I-Y. Kwak - K.S. Kim - H.J. Kim
BACKGROUND: Chemosensory dysfunction has been reported to be involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Compared with olfaction, gustatory dysfunction in AD has not been evaluated in depth. We reviewed previously published studies regarding gustatory dysfunction in patients with AD compared with healthy controls.
METHODS: A systematic review was conducted by searching the MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, Embase, and PubMed databases covering publications from January 2000 to February 2023. The search was performed using the keyword "Alzheimer* AND (gustatory OR taste OR gustation)." Only studies that performed gustatory function testing and compared the results between patients with AD and healthy controls were included. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed.
RESULTS: Twelve articles were finally included, and various gustatory tests including taste strips, the taste disk test, taste solutions, and subjective questionnaires were applied. Overall gustatory function based on the taste strip test was significantly decreased in patients with AD compared with controls in two out of three papers. The overall gustatory function of patients with AD was significantly decreased in all studies based on the taste disk and taste solution tests. We also found that the sweet taste test showed low heterogeneity across all the included studies, and there was low publication bias. In studies using subjective questionnaires, gustatory function was not significantly different between patients with AD and healthy controls in the meta-analysis.
CONCLUSIONS: Based on these studies, gustatory dysfunction diagnosed by gustatory function testing was closely related to AD. However, the results of subjective questionnaires were not significantly different between patients with AD and healthy controls in the current meta-analysis. As the number of studies and enrolled subjects was limited and unified gustatory function testing was lacking, further studies are needed to confirm this relationship.
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