Scientists look for ways to make food tastier for cancer patients

April 1st, 2009 - 3:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 1 (IANS) Chemotherapy and radiotherapy leave a lingering bad taste in the mouth of cancer patients and possibly causes malnutrition, according to a compilation of existing studies.
One of the goals of a new study, said Andrea Dietrich, professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE) at Virginia Tech, is to help researchers find ways to make food more palatable for such patients.

A bad taste in the mouth leads to poor nutrition because patients avoid eating, said Susan Duncan, professor of food science and technology at Virginia Tech.

Approximately two-thirds of cancer patients, who receive chemotherapy, report decreased or lost taste acuity or metallic taste which can impair chances of their survival, as reported in an earlier study conducted by the Duke University.

Dietrich, an expert on water quality and treatment, has expanded upon her knowledge of this field to include such assessments in cancer patients.

She worked with Jae Hee Hong, Susan E. Duncan, and Brian T. Stanek of Virginia Tech’s Food Science and Technology Department, Pinar Omur-Ozbek, also of CEE, Yong Woo Lee of Virginia Tech’s School of Biomedical Engineering and Glenn Lesser, a physician of hematology and oncology at Wake Forest, said a Wake Forest release.

Their joint paper appeared in the March-April Journal of Supportive Oncology.

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