Chronic Otitis Media Associated With Changes in Taste

Higher taste threshold in children with chronic otitis media with effusion may be tied to BMI

WEDNESDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- Children with chronic otitis media with effusion (COME) have different taste thresholds, which may be associated with their increased body mass index (BMI), according to a study published in the March issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Il Ho Shin, M.D., from Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues investigated changes in taste threshold in pediatric patients with COME, and their association with BMI. Taste threshold was measured by electrogustometry in 42 children (aged 3 to 7 years) with COME who underwent tympanostomy tube insertion and 42 children (aged 4 to 7 years) who did not have otitis media with effusion. Chemical taste tests comprising four standard taste solutions -- sucrose, sodium chloride, citric acid, and quinine hydrochloride -- were carried out.

The investigators found that COME patients had a significantly higher BMI than the controls. Electrogustometry demonstrated a significantly higher taste threshold on the anterior part of the tongue in the COME group compared to the controls. Sweet and salty tastes were found to be significantly lower in the COME group compared to the controls, according to the chemical taste test.

"These findings suggest an association between changes in taste and increased BMI in pediatric patients with COME," the authors write.

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