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Impact of olfactory priming on food intake in an Alzheimer's disease unit

Abstract : Alzheimer's disease (AD) is often associated with feeding difficulties and changes in eating behavior with may lead to malnutrition. In French nursing homes, AD patients may live in special care units that better meet dementia residents' needs. However, meals are often delivered to AD patients by using meal trays coming from central kitchens. This led to the disappearance of cues that could help residents to foresee mealtime, such as the smell of food odors. The aim of the present study was to assess the impact of odorizing the dining room of AD Units with a meat odor before lunch on subsequent food intake and eating behavior. Thirty-two residents (>75 years old) from three AD Units were included in the study. They participated in two control lunches and two primed lunches, for which a meat odor was diffused in the dining room 15 minutes before the arrival of the meal tray (olfactory priming). Results of the first replication showed a significant effect of olfactory priming, with a 25% increase in meat and vegetable consumption compared to the control condition. Behavioral measurements also showed a significant increase of resident's interest toward the meal in the primed lunch. However, this effect was no longer observed when the priming session was replicated two weeks later with the same priming odor and the same menu. Although further research is needed to understand why this priming effect cannot be replicated, our experiment is one of the very first to investigate the effect of food odor priming on subsequent food intake in AD patients in a real-life setting.
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Submitted on : Thursday, February 18, 2021 - 2:02:17 PM
Last modification on : Friday, March 26, 2021 - 12:06:09 PM

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Claire Sulmont-Rossé, Marie Gaillet, Carine Raclot, Michel Duclos, Maud Servelle, et al.. Impact of olfactory priming on food intake in an Alzheimer's disease unit. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, IOS Press, 2018, 66 (4), pp.1497-1506. ⟨10.3233/JAD-180465⟩. ⟨hal-02620899⟩

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