Review: Taste reactivity deficit in anorexia nervosa

Topics: Eating disorders, Taste, Anorexia nervosa Pages: 6 (1968 words) Published: October 4, 2013
Review: Csaba Szalay, Ildikó Ábrahám, Szilárd Papp, Gábor Takács, Balázs Lukáts Ágnes Gáti, and Zoltán Karádi, (2010). Taste reactivity deficit in anorexia nervosa. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 64: 403–407.

Basis for the research question in past research and theory:

Hypogeusia, the reduced ability to taste, and dysgeusia, the distortion of the sense of taste, mainly involving the sour, bitter and salty tastes, have already been demonstrated in anorexia nervosa patients in literature and have been examined through other experiments. Many of the findings, however, have lacked explanation. The earliest of the studies illustrated a clear ‘carbohydrate-phobia’ in anorexia nervosa patients. Later reports suggested no alteration of sweet taste preference, but a definite dislike of foods rich in fat. This small-scale study is aimed to support and add to the previous studies, as well as serve for a basis for a more comprehensive study in the future.

Research hypotheses:

Because anorexia nervosa is a complex psychiatric disorder posing a rapidly increasing burden on modern society, this research was conducted to clarify perceptual- motivational aspects of gustatory disturbances in the disease. This means that the study aimed to identify desensitation to taste stimuli, and explain the lower pleasure sensations associated with taste among patients with anorexia nervosa. The expected results would support earlier studies, in that they would show no alteration of sweet taste preference, but a definite dislike of foods rich in fat, as well as support ‘carbohydrate phobia’ displays in patients with anorexia nervosa. Research procedures the authors employed:

In order to test the gustatory responses in patients with anorexia nervosa, a very specific test group was considered. Volunteers with diagnosed cases of restrictive type anorexia nervosa, based on the criteria listed in the DSM-IV Text Revision, were evaluated. Three of these volunteers were excluded from the study due to their uncertain diagnosis or unfitting biological or other examination data, such as salivary dysfunction, and histories of gastrointestinal or other diseases that might affect gustatory response. The group was also evaluated based upon the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT) and the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI). The subject’s drive for thinness, bulimia related tendencies, body dissatisfaction, ineffectiveness, perfectionism, interpersonal distrust, interoceptive awareness, and maturity fears subscales were assessed and recorded. A control group of ‘normal’ subjects was also evaluated on the same scales. Their scores were also recorded. The comparison of the normal group and control groups’ mean scores showed an obvious difference between the groups. On the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT) the volunteers with anorexia nervosa scored a mean of 41.2 and the volunteers in the control group scored a mean of 20.3. On the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) test drive for thinness subscale volunteers with anorexia nervosa scored a mean of 15.5 and the controls scored a mean of 5.4. On the bulimia subscale the volunteers with anorexia nervosa scored a mean of 3.4 and the controls scored a mean of 6.4. On the body dissatisfaction subscale volunteers with anorexia nervosa scored a mean of 21.7 and the controls scored a mean of 6.5. On the ineffectiveness subscale volunteers with anorexia nervosa scored a mean of 23.6 and controls scored a mean of 7.3. On the perfectionism subscale volunteers with anorexia nervosa scored a mean of 12.4 and controls scored a mean of 6.1. On the interpersonal distrust subscale volunteers with anorexia nervosa scored a mean of 13.6, where as the controls scored a mean of 4.7. On the interoceptive awareness subscale volunteers with anorexia nervosa scored a mean of 22.7 and controls scored a mean of 8.3. On the maturity fears subscale volunteers with anorexia nervosa scored a mean of 18.1 and the controls scored...
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