December 27, 1971

Disorders of Taste and Smell

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md

JAMA. 1971;218(13):1946. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190260060028

To the Editor.—  The term cacosmia used to describe the olfactory symptoms experienced and reported by Romberg (218:596, 1971) following an upper respiratory tract infection is indeed apt. His description of the term dysosmia as "a very mild descriptive term" is, however, not necessarily syntactically correct. We have also been concerned about the inadequacy and apparent redundancy of terms used to describe alterations of taste and olfaction. Careful evaluation of the symptoms of approximately 400 patients with disorders of these two senses have taught us that there are several different aspects of altered taste and smell acuity. With these differences in mind we have proposed the following general and specific terms to describe the pathological alterations we have observed.1Dysgeusia (dys—bad, disordered + geusis—taste): a general term describing any distortion of normal taste perception.Cacogeusia (caco—bad, ill): a specific term describing the abhorent, obnoxious taste produced by the introduction