Flavor perception involves both olfactory and gustatory function. In patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), hyposmia is a frequent finding, as well as an increased risk of malnutrition. We performed a pilot study to investigate the relationship between flavor perception and risk of malnutrition in PD patients. 63 PD patients participated to perform an olfactory (Sniffin’ Sticks) and gustatory (Taste Strips) task, and a questionnaire to establish nutritional risk (MUST), which includes BMI measurements. The relationship between olfactory and gustatory function and BMI was analyzed using partial correlations, corrected for disease duration, and regression analysis. Patients displayed a high prevalence of hyposmia (68.3%), and a low prevalence (6.3%) of hypogeusia. A small, but significant correlation was found between olfactory function and BMI (r = 0.261, p = 0.038), and not for gustatory function and BMI (r = 0.137, p = 0.284). Hyposmia, and not hypogeusia, may contribute to weight loss in Parkinson’s disease, and hence increase the risk of malnutrition.
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