What is it about?

Dysphagia is a highly prevalent symptom in Parkinson's disease, as are sensory problems such as the loss of taste and smell. It is well-known that thickening agents used for dysphagia management alter the sensory properties of foods. This was however not yet investigated in Parkinson's disease patients. Therefore, we compared the sensory characteristics of starch-based thickened soups with a gum-based thickened soup, as perceived by Parkinson's patients and healthy volunteers of a similar age.

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Why is it important?

Dysphagia can lead to serious complications, including difficulty with both medication and food intake, a decrease in quality of life and an increased risk of aspiration pneumonia . However, one of the major issues of current dysphagia management is the low treatment compliance due to the negative sensory properties. Parkinson's disease patients often already suffer from sensory deficits, consequently reduced taste intensity caused by thickening agents may strengthen their loss of taste and smell. This paper provides a better insight into the taste, aroma and texture perception of Parkinson’s patients regarding the use of thickeners for dysphagia management.


The knowledge of Parkinson’s patients' sensory perception of thickeners may have an impact on therapy compliance and therefore improveme the clinical implications associated with dysphagia.

Florence Baert
Associatie KU Leuven

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Dysphagia management in Parkinson's disease: Comparison of the effect of thickening agents on taste, aroma, and texture, Journal of Food Science, January 2021, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.15595.
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