Washington: The temperature of the food we eat can affect the intensity of flavours in the mouth depending on the taste, according to a new study.
Dr. Gary Pickering and colleagues from Brock University in Canada have shown that changes in the temperature of foods and drinks have an effect on the intensity of sour, bitter and astringent (e.g. cranberry juice) tastes but not sweetness.
We are all familiar with the effect of temperature on taste - think about starting to eat or drink something while it is warm and finishing when it has cooled, or vice versa.
The same food or beverage can taste different depending on its temperature. In addition, in 20-30 percent of the population, heating or cooling small areas of the tongue draws out a taste sensation without the presence of food or drink. These individuals are known as ‘thermal’ tasters.
Over three sessions, 74 participants recruited from Brock University and the local community (a combination of ‘thermal’ tasters, ‘super’ tasters i.e. people who are particularly sensitive to tastes in general, and ‘regular’ tasters) tasted sweet, sour, bitter and astringent solutions at both 5 degree Celsius and 35 degree Celsius. They were then asked to rate the intensity of the tastes over a period of time.
For all three types of tasters, temperature influenced the maximum perceived intensity from astringent, bitter and sour solutions, but not from the sweet solutions.
Specifically astringency was more intense when the solution was warm, and the intensity of the flavor lasted longer with the warm solution than with the cold one.
Bitterness was more intense with the cold solution and the flavor intensity declined faster with the cold solution than with the warm one
Sourness was more intense with the warm solution and the flavor intensity lasted longer with the warm solution than with the cold one and, surprisingly, there was no difference in perceived sweetness between the cold and warm sugar solutions, but it took longer for the cold solution to reach its maximum flavor intensity.
“For some individuals, temperature alone can elicit taste sensations. These individuals seem to be more sensitive to tastes in general. What our work shows is that, in addition to these sensitive individuals, the temperature of a specific taste can affect how intense it tastes,” the researchers concluded.
Their work is published online in Springer’s Chemosensory Perception journal. (ANI)
Acupuncture may benefit patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Washington: In a small clinical trial, Japanese researchers have found that acupuncture appears to be associated with improvement improvement of dyspnea (labored breathing) on exertion, in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The management of dyspnea is an important target in the treatment of COPD, a common respiratory disease characterized by irreversible airflow limitation.
COPD is predicted to be the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2020, according to the study background.
Masao Suzuki, L.Ac., Ph.D., of Kyoto University and Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, Kyoto, Japan, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial from July 2006 through March 2009.
A total of 68 patients diagnosed with COPD participated, and 34 were assigned to a real acupuncture group for 12 weeks, plus daily medication. The other 34 were assigned to a placebo acupuncture group in which the needles were blunt (and appeared to, but did not enter the skin). The primary measure was the evaluation of a six-minute walk test on a Borg scale where 0 meant “breathing very well, barely breathless” and 10 signified “severely breathless.”
“We demonstrated clinically relevant improvements in DOE [dyspnea on exertion] (Borg scale), nutrition status (including BMI), airflow obstruction, exercise capacity and health-related quality of life after three months of acupuncture treatment,” the researchers said.
After 12 weeks of treatment, the Borg scale score after the six-minute walk test improved from 5.5 to 1.9 in the real acupuncture group. No improvement was seen in the Borg scale score in the placebo acupuncture group before and after treatment (4.2 and 4.6, respectively), according to the study results.
“Randomized trials with larger sample sizes and longer-term interventions with follow-up evaluations are necessary to confirm the usefulness of acupuncture in COPD treatment,” the researchers noted.
The finding has been published Online First by Archives of Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.