Many patients with multiple sclerosis report a poor ability to identify tastes which is an under-appreciated problem.
A University of Pennsylvania research team has found a high incidence of an under-appreciated problem in patients with multiple sclerosis: poor ability to identify tastes.
Richard Doty, director of Penn’s Smell and Taste Center, who led the study, said previous work found that people with the autoimmune disease had trouble with smell. Sense of smell can affect the ability to taste and enjoy food.
However, the new study independently assessed the ability to identify bitter, sour, sweet and salty tastes. The amount of dysfunction was associated with the amount of damage seen in MRIs of patients’ brains.
Doty said it is important to consider that patients may not be tasting food properly because “a certain number of individuals with MS have nutritional problems.” Patients may not be eating because food does not taste good to them. Heightening flavors may make food more appealing, he said.
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