Date of this Version
Taste stimulation has rehabilitative value in dysphagia management, as it activates salient underlying afferent pathways to swallowing which may evoke feedforward effects on swallow biomechanics. Despite its potential beneficial effects on swallow physiology, taste stimulation’s clinical application is limited for persons unsafe to orally consume food/liquid. This study aimed to create edible, dissolvable taste strips matched to flavor profiles previously used in research assessing taste’s effects on swallowing physiology and brain activity, and to evaluate how similar their perceived intensity and hedonic, or palatability, ratings were between their liquid counterparts. Plain, sour, sweet–sour, lemon, and orange flavor profiles were custom-made in taste strips and liquid modalities. The generalized Labeled Magnitude Scale and hedonic generalized Labeled Magnitude Scale were used to assess intensity and palatability ratings for flavor profiles in each modality. Healthy participants were recruited and stratified across age and sex. Liquids were rated as more intense than taste strips; however, there was no difference in palatability ratings between the modalities. There were significant differences across flavor profiles in intensity and palatability ratings. Collapsed across liquid and taste strip modalities, pairwise comparisons revealed all flavored stimuli were rated as more intense than the plain profile, sour was perceived as more intense and less palatable than all other profiles, and orange was rated as more palatable than sour, lemon, and plain tastants. Taste strips have useful implications for dysphagia management, as they could offer safe and patient-preferred flavor profiles to potentially provide advantageous swallowing and neural hemodynamic responses.