Navigation Links
Researchers examine why food tastes bad to chemotherapy recipients

About two million cancer patients currently receiving certain drug therapies and chemotherapy find foods and beverages to have a foul metallic flavor, according to a medical study. In general, more than 40 percent of hospitalized patients suffer from malnutrition due to taste and smell dysfunction.

"Unfortunately, these problems that impact nutrition and quality of life are underestimated and understudied by oncologists," said Andrea Dietrich, Virginia Tech professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE).

Dietrich believes there are two components to the metallic flavor –?the taste of metal ions on the tongue and the production of metal-catalyzed odors in the mouth that create a retro-nasal effect. "I am attempting to gain a better understanding of the metallic sensation, its prevention, and application to human health," Dietrich said.

Along with two of her university colleagues, Susan E. Duncan, professor of food science and technology, and YongWoo Lee, an assistant professor in the biomedical sciences and pathology department and a member of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Dietrich is the recipient of a $200,000 grant from the Institute of Public Health and Water Research (IPWR) to examine the problems of foul flavored water. The interdisciplinary investigative team combines proficiency in food oxidation and off-flavors, water chemistry, cell biology, and human perception.

Dietrich, the principal investigator on the project, is an expert on water quality and treatment, as well as its taste and odor assessment. In fact there are some 33 identified flavors of drinking water acknowledged by the American Water Works Association and Research Foundation (AwwaRF). They range in description from "wet paper" to "crushed grass" to "peaty" to "plastic."

Several years ago, AwwaRF sponsored Dietrich to travel around the U.S. to educate utility staff and managers on how t o use sensory analysis to detect changes in water quality. She is also a co-developer of three odor-testing methods for the daily monitoring of raw and untreated water.

Now she is hoping to work with medical personnel as she, Duncan, and Lee compare the sensory thresholds, recommended nutritional levels, and adverse health effect levels of iron and copper in water, and their relationship to health-based problems such as persistent metallic tastes of patients receiving chemotherapy.

They hope to identify the cause of the metallic flavor in the mouth when drinking water contains metal ions, specifically iron and copper. Their research will also evaluate the use of antioxidants to prevent the metallic flavor production. "If we can discover the cause of the production of metallic flavor, then preventive methods can be taken accordingly," Dietrich said.

In correct amounts, metals in drinking water are actually important sources of micronutrients in the human diet. In fact, iron and copper are commonly found in drinking water, and they can be an important source of these mircronutrients. However, there are thresholds. If ingested at higher concentrations, greater than three milligrams per liter, iron and copper "may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney and liver damage," Dietrich explained.

Some tests will be done with human volunteers to determine reactions of volatile compounds in the mouth. Since saliva contains proteins and enzymes, it may have some effect in enhancing the metallic flavor. They will also use in-vitro experiments in order to conduct experiments at higher concentrations without endangering anyone, Dietrich added.

Perception of taste and odor is very complex, and like nutritional needs, varies depending on age, gender, race, health status, prior exposure and experience.

Two graduate CEE students, Pinar Omur-Ozbek and Jose Cerrato, both of Blacksburg, Va., will work on this project.


'"/>

Source:Virginia Tech


Related biology news :

1. Researchers discover way to make cells in the eye sensitive to light
2. Researchers find how protein allows insects to detect and respond to pheromones
3. Researchers Uncover Key Step In Manufacture of Memory Protein
4. Researchers reveal the infectious impact of salmon farms on wild salmon
5. Researchers identify target for cancer drugs
6. Researchers discover molecule that causes secondary stroke
7. Researchers find missing genes of ancient organism
8. Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes
9. Researchers add new tool to tumor-treatment arsenal
10. UF Researchers Map Bacterial Proteins That Cause Tooth Loss
11. VCU Researchers Identify Networks Of Genes Responding To Alcohol In The Brain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/20/2017)... , March 20, 2017 PMD Healthcare announces ... spirometer and Wellness Management System (WMS), a remote, real-time ... in 2010, PMD Healthcare is a Medical Device, Digital ... mission dedicated to creating innovative solutions that empower people ... that intent focus, PMD developed the first ever personal ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... of security: Biometric Face Matching software  Continue Reading ... ... match face pictures against each other or against large databases. The recognition of ... ... for biometric Face Matching on the market. The speed is at 100 million ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... FRANCISCO and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. ... , "Eating Well Made Simple," and 23andMe , ... help guide better food choices.  Zipongo can now provide ... their food preferences, health goals and biometrics, but also ... certain food choices. Zipongo,s personalized food decision ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/27/2017)... ... March 27, 2017 , ... IsoPlexis Corporation (IsoPlexis), a ... disease and more through a single-cell precision engineering platform, today announced it has ... in the laboratory of Dr. James Heath at the California Institute of ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... ... March 27, 2017 , ... Biopsies from non-small cell ... with limited tumor content in a large background of normal or wild type ... need for reliable detection of low abundance somatic mutations, particularly in small specimens ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... Md. , March 27, 2017  The ... billion for 2016, according to a new report ... medical lab testing is performed to evaluate disease ... individual therapy, among other reasons.  The healthcare market ... Market , provides an overview of the ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... The new research portal will give visitors quick ... Valero Energy , offering extensive market research on their ... ... The latest trend gaining momentum in ... even though touted as a green alternative to fossil fuels, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: