May 8, 1987

Clinical Measurement of Taste and Smell

Author Affiliations

University of Michigan Ann Arbor

University of Michigan Ann Arbor


edited by Herbert L. Meiselman and Richard S. Rivlin, 602 pp, with illus, $85, New York, Macmillan Publishing Co Inc, 1986.

JAMA. 1987;257(18):2498-2499. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390180116039

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Taste and smell are two rather neglected senses, not for lack of interest but because they are so difficult to measure reliably. So audiometers and Snellen charts are standard equipment in the physician's office, but not devices to measure olfactory acuity or the tasting modes.

This 602-page book, a conference volume, contains 33 studies contributed by specialists in taste and smell, nearly all of them from university departments and government laboratories—where the basic research is conducted. It starts with a series of studies on general problems of measuring, then goes on to the methodological problems inherent even in odor recognition. There are a short section on the nutritional complications of differences in taste and smell, a section on life-cycle development, and then two separate clinically oriented sections, the latter constituting some 200 pages in all.

Although they were written by sensory specialists for sensory specialists, the arrangement of the six