Taste and smell function in pediatric blood and marrow transplant patients
Cohen, J., Laing, D.G. and Wilkes, F.J. (2012) Taste and smell function in pediatric blood and marrow transplant patients. Supportive Care in Cancer: Official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, 20 (11). pp. 3019-3023.
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The intensive conditioning regimens of a pediatric blood and marrow transplant (BMT) can limit voluntary intake leading to a risk of malnutrition. Poor dietary intake is likely multi-factorial with a change in taste and smell function potentially being one contributing factor limiting intake, though this is not well studied. This research aimed to assess the taste and smell function of a cohort of pediatric BMT patients. A total of ten pediatric BMT patients (8-15 years) were recruited to this study. Smell function was assessed using a three-choice 16-item odour identification test. Taste function was assessed using five concentrations of sweet, sour, salty and bitter tastants. All tests were completed at admission to transplant and monthly until taste and smell function had normalised. At the 1-month post-transplant assessment, one third of participants displayed some evidence of taste dysfunction and one third smell dysfunction, but there was no evidence of dysfunction in any patient at the 2-month assessment. Contrary to reports of long-term loss of taste and smell function in adults, dysfunction early in transplant was found to be transient and be resolved within 2 months post-transplant in children. Further research is required to determine the causes of poor dietary intake in this population.
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