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The True Relationship Between Taste And Smell

1279 words - 5 pages

It has been alleged that the perception of flavor and aroma are “derived from the senses of chemical irritation, taste and smell” (Rawson, 2003). Collectively, these senses constitute what has been termed chemosensation, even though these sensory systems are supposedly very different in their physiology and anatomy. Nevertheless, they do have the ability to “regenerate, and their noted susceptibility to aging and age associated diseases” (Rawson, 2003). In the article Is age related olfactory loss uniform across odorants? It has been reported that nearly one third of all older persons report displeasure with their sense of smell and taste, and the actual occurrence of sensory loss amongst the elderly is maintained to be even higher (Pelchat, 2001). Furthermore, it has been asserted that “ age related sensory loss affects both personal safety and quality of life” (Rawson, 2003).
Moreover, the impact of the loss on the elderly persons physical well being and emotional well being should not be underestimated. If older persons are complaining about chemosensory function, it should be taken seriously both for the significance and prevalence to the older individual and “as a possible indicator of neurological disorder “ (Rawson, 2003).

Article Overview
there are several features of the human sensory system related to smell, taste, and chemical irritation that make them especially susceptible to age and associated disease changes that may lead to deficits in functionality. According to the article Age related changes in perception of flavor and aroma, These features include long-term exposure to harsh environmental externalities, replacement of receptor cells for taste and smell over the course of the life span, dependence on the ability of stimuli to penetrate through and dissolve in watery protective layers, and dependency on multiple types of receptors which are necessary to perceive the entirety of the sensory spectrum (Rawson, 2003).
Loss within the sensory system can be attributed to changes in structural anatomy such as loss of olfactory receptor cells or taste buds, changes or variance in the levels of particular receptor proteins or ion channels, or environmental changes surrounding the receptor cell such as changes in the composition of mucus in the nasal passages or reduction in salivation. An example of loss within sensory system provided by researcher Nancy Rawson in her (2003) article “Age Related Changes in Perception of Flavor and Aroma”. This paper proves the use of dentures as they have the ability to contribute to changes in taste perception because of the physical barrier to some of the membranes where receptors reside, reduced salivation and the exposure of the receptors to compounds that the dental adhesive tends to release. Chronic diseases are also posited as impactful on sensory functionality, particularly cancer and diabetes, or even therapeutic interventions such as radiation, surgery and...

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