Taste plays a central role in clinical medicine and is crucial for pediatric patients because the unpleasant taste of drugs thwarts the benefits of even the most powerful drug. For two reasons, pediatric medications are particularly problematic. First, children often cannot or will not swallow pills or tablets (which encapsulates the inherently bitter tasting medications). Second, their enhanced (relative to adults) sensitivity to bitterness leads them to strongly reject bitter liquid medicines. We propose experimental studies applying recent scientific advances in bitter taste biology which have identified compounds that may interfere with bitter perception by taste receptor cells, to determine: (1) the effectiveness of these bitter blockers in children and adults for different model bitter compounds and (2) how age and genetic variation affects the efficacy of the bitter blockers.

Public Health Relevance

Completion of this research project will lead to a better understanding of the how to ameliorate bitter tastes. It addresses a public health priority by 1) supporting efforts aimed at formulating better tasting pediatric medications, thus helping children avoid the serious health consequences from refusing to take medications;and 2) providing a framework and database using appropriate psychophysical testing procedures, model bitter compounds and currently identified bitter blockers, which will facilitate future clinical studies in which specific drugs can be compared and novel bitter blockers can be evaluated.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01DC011287-04
Application #
8588910
Study Section
Somatosensory and Chemosensory Systems Study Section (SCS)
Program Officer
Sullivan, Susan L
Project Start
2011-01-01
Project End
2015-12-31
Budget Start
2014-01-01
Budget End
2014-12-31
Support Year
4
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
$288,096
Indirect Cost
$96,846
Name
Monell Chemical Senses Center
Department
Type
DUNS #
088812565
City
Philadelphia
State
PA
Country
United States
Zip Code
19104
Bobowski, Nuala; Reed, Danielle R; Mennella, Julie A (2016) Variation in the TAS2R31 bitter taste receptor gene relates to liking for the nonnutritive sweetener Acesulfame-K among children and adults. Sci Rep 6:39135
Joseph, Paule Valery; Reed, Danielle R; Mennella, Julie A (2016) Individual Differences Among Children in Sucrose Detection Thresholds: Relationship With Age, Gender, and Bitter Taste Genotype. Nurs Res 65:3-12
Mennella, Julie A; Bobowski, Nuala K; Reed, Danielle R (2016) The development of sweet taste: From biology to hedonics. Rev Endocr Metab Disord 17:171-8
Mennella, Julie A; Bobowski, Nuala K (2015) The sweetness and bitterness of childhood: Insights from basic research on taste preferences. Physiol Behav 152:502-7
Mennella, Julie A; Reed, Danielle R; Mathew, Phoebe S et al. (2015) "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down": bitter masking by sucrose among children and adults. Chem Senses 40:17-25
Bobowski, Nuala K; Mennella, Julie A (2015) Disruption in the Relationship between Blood Pressure and Salty Taste Thresholds among Overweight and Obese Children. J Acad Nutr Diet 115:1272-82
Mennella, Julie A; Roberts, Kristi M; Mathew, Phoebe S et al. (2015) Children's perceptions about medicines: individual differences and taste. BMC Pediatr 15:130
Wahlqvist, Mark L; Krawetz, Stephen A; Rizzo, Nico S et al. (2015) Early-life influences on obesity: from preconception to adolescence. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1347:1-28
Mennella, Julie A; Finkbeiner, Susana; Lipchock, Sarah V et al. (2014) Preferences for salty and sweet tastes are elevated and related to each other during childhood. PLoS One 9:e92201
Mennella, Julie A; Reed, Danielle R; Roberts, Kristi M et al. (2014) Age-related differences in bitter taste and efficacy of bitter blockers. PLoS One 9:e103107

Showing the most recent 10 out of 22 publications