Children with chronic inflammation of the middle ear may experience changes in their sense of taste, changes that may be directly related to childhood obesity, as reported in a study by Kyung Hee University in Seoul (South Korea), published in the 'Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery' magazine.

The researchers, led by Il Ho Shin, conducted a study to evaluate the association between the taste threshold in patients with chronic otitis media with effusion (OMCE) -a persistent inflammation of the middle ear, in which the effusion fluid is retained in the middle ear cavity - and the relationship with the body mass index (BMI). The authors considered that changes in taste functioning could occur in children with OMCE and that such changes could be associated with body weight.

The researchers measured the taste thresholds of 42 children with OMCE, to whom they inserted a small plastic tube into the eardrum to keep the ear half ventilated, and those of a control group of 42 children without OMCE. Four standard taste solutions (sugar, salt, citric acid and quinine hydrochloride) were used for the test. The results showed that children with chronic otitis media with effusion had a significantly higher body mass index than those in the control group. The results of the tests showed that the taste thresholds of the front of the tongue were higher in children with OMCE than in those of the control group.

The chemical taste tests indicated that the thresholds for salty and sweet tastes were elevated in the children of the OMCE group. The thresholds of bitter and acid taste were also in some sense higher in the otitis media group but these differences were not statistically significant. After knowing the results, the authors concluded that the findings suggest an association between changes in taste and a higher body mass index in pediatric patients with OMCE.

. Source: EUROPE PRESS

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