The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

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Causative factors of taste disorders in the elderly, and therapeutic effects of zinc

M Ikedaa1 c1, A Ikuia1, A Komiyamaa1, D Kobayashia1 and M Tanakaa1

a1 Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, Nihon University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

Abstract

Objectives: To determine the characteristics of causative factors of taste disorders amongst the elderly, and to examine the therapeutic effect of a zinc agent, taking into account age-related factors.

Subjects: A total of 408 patients with taste disorders were divided into three groups by age: 49 years or younger, 50 to 64 years old, and 65 years or older.

Results: The incidence of taste disorders caused by drug administration and systemic disease were significantly higher in the elderly group. A serum zinc concentration of 69 µg/dl or lower was found in 33 per cent of the elderly group, significantly more (p < 0.001) than the 19 per cent of the 49 years or younger group with such a concentration. Zinc administration was therapeutically effective in 70 per cent of the whole population studied, and in 74 per cent of the elderly population.

Conclusions: In the elderly, the incidence of taste disorders caused by drug administration or systemic disease was significantly greater compared with other age groups. The curative effects of zinc administration were not observed to be influenced by age.

(Accepted March 19 2007)

(Online publication June 25 2007)

Key words

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Minoru Ikeda, Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, Nihon University School of Medicine, 30-1 Oyaguchi-kamimachi, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8610, Japan. Fax: +81 3 3972 1321 E-mail: mikeda@med.nihon-u.ac.jp

Footnotes

Dr M Ikeda takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper.

Competing interests: None declared

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