MONDAY, Nov. 20, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Patients with cirrhosis have significantly impaired taste perception and smell-related quality of life, and cognitive impairment is linked with taste and smell, according to a study presented at The Liver Meeting, the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, held from Nov. 10 to 14 in Boston.
Andrew Fagan, from Virginia Commonwealth University and the Richmond VA Medical Center, and colleagues examined the impact of cognitive impairment in cirrhosis with and without dialysis on taste and smell perception. A total of 59 individuals (22 healthy, 21 with cirrhosis, and 16 receiving dialysis) were included. Of the cirrhosis patients, eight and 13 were compensated and decompensated, respectively; 11 had hepatic encephalopathy (HE).
The researchers found that controls had the best discrimination on taste, while patients with cirrhosis and dialysis patients were similarly impaired; HE had no impact. The tastes most affected were sweet and sour. No difference was seen in smell detection. Advanced patients had the worst eating-related and overall quality of life. For diseased patients versus controls, Stroop and the psychometric hepatic encephalopathy score (PHES) impairment were also worse. There was a significant correlation observed for taste with PHES and Stroop, irrespective of HE or dialysis. There was a correlation seen for smell perception with Stroop. In a multivariable analysis, high (good) PHES and smell results were contributory to taste, while taste correct results, low Stroop, and age were linked for smell. Worse Stroop was linked to eating impairment on the Sickness Impact Profile.
“Nutritionists and others may be able to assist patients with a healthy diet and suggest ways to improve patients’ reports of their quality of life,” coauthor Jasmohan S. Bajaj, M.D., also from Virginia Commonwealth University and the Richmond VA Medical Center, said in a statement.
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