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Differences in Taste Intensity, Chemesthesis, and Swallowing Behavior in Healthy Adult Women (Nagy et al., 2014)

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posted on 2014-06-01, 00:00 authored by Ahmed Nagy, Catriona M. Steele, Cathy A. Pelletier
Purpose The authors examined the impact of barium on the perceived taste intensity of 7 different liquid tastant stimuli and the modulatory effect that these differences in perceived taste intensity have on swallowing behaviors.
Method Participants were 80 healthy women, stratified by age group (<40; >60) and genetic taste status (supertasters; nontasters). Perceived taste intensity and chemesthetic properties (fizziness; burning–stinging) were rated for 7 tastant solutions (each prepared with and without barium) using the general Labeled Magnitude Scale. Tongue-palate pressures and submental surface electromyography (sEMG) were simultaneously measured during swallowing of these same randomized liquids. Path analysis differentiated the effects of stimulus, genetic taste status, age, barium condition, taste intensity, and an effortful saliva swallow strength covariate on swallowing.
Results Barium stimuli were rated as having reduced taste intensity compared with nonbarium stimuli. Barium also dampened fizziness but did not influence burning–stinging sensation. The amplitudes of tongue-palate pressure or submental sEMG did not differ when swallowing barium versus nonbarium stimuli.
Conclusions Despite impacting taste intensity, the addition of barium to liquid stimuli does not appear to alter behavioral parameters of swallowing. Barium solutions can be considered to elicit behaviors that are similar to those used with nonbarium liquids outside the assessment situation.


Funding for this study was provided through an American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation New Investigator award to Cathy A. Pelletier as well as funding from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Johns Hopkins University. Catriona M. Steele acknowledges funding from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant 5RO1DC011020-02 and the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute--University Health Network, which supported the contributions of Cathy A. Pelletier and Catriona M. Steele to manuscript development. The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute--University Health Network receives funding from the Provincial Rehabilitation Research program of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Ministry. The authors gratefully acknowledge assistance and advice from Karen Grace-Martin with the statistical analyses, and from Linda Bartoshuk, Christy Ludlow, and Rebecca German regarding analysis and interpretation of the data.