Scientists report that up to 15% of American adults might have a smell or taste problem, with the prevalence increasing exponentially with age. Not only do those who are impacted report a reduced appreciation for food and drink, but many also report experiencing difficulties in relationships, a sense of isolation, and depression. However, their problems are often dismissed with comments like “well, at least you’re not blind.” In this forum, participants will learn about current interdisciplinary research in taste and flavor to help those affected by taste disorders.
Dr. Dara-Abrams is a gerontechnologist and sensory data scientist and integrates interdisciplinary research with enabling technologies to improve quality of life, particularly for older adults. With support from the NIH National Institute on Aging, Benay led the development of a Sensor-Enabled Elder Social Support Platform and Online Psychosocial Instruments. Currently developing a Taste Typology Instrument and a Personalized Flavor Guide, Benay hopes to help those whose quality of life has been diminished by an impaired sense of taste.