Anosmia, the loss of sense of smell, is a common nonmotor feature of Parkinson's disease (PD). Ageusia, the loss of sense of taste, is additionally an underappreciated nonmotor feature of PD. The olfactory tract is involved early in PD as indicated by frequent occurrence of hyposmia or anosmia years or decades before motor symptoms and by autopsy studies showing early synuclein pathology in the olfactory tract and anterior olfactory nucleus even in the early stages of PD. Testing for olfaction consists of evaluation of olfactory thresholds, smell identification and discrimination, and olfactory memory. Testing for gustation involves evaluating thresholds and discrimination of five basic tastes (salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and umami). The presence of a specific pattern of loss in both olfaction and gustation in PD has been proposed, but this has not yet been confirmed. Within PD, olfactory loss is strongly tied with cognitive status though links to other features of PD or a particular PD phenotype is debated. Hyposmia is more often present and typically more severe in PD patients than other parkinsonian syndromes, making it a potentially useful biomarker for the disease.
Keywords: Ageusia; Anosmia; Gustation; Hyposmia; Olfaction; Parkinson's disease.
© 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.