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Smokers' Tongues Fail Taste Test

Date:
August 20, 2009
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Smokers have fewer and flatter taste buds. A study of the tongues of 62 Greek soldiers, has demonstrated how cigarettes deaden the ability to taste.

Smokers have fewer and flatter taste buds. A study of the tongues of 62 Greek soldiers, published in the open access journal BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders, has demonstrated how cigarettes deaden the ability to taste.

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Pavlidis Pavlos led a team of researchers from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki who used electrical stimulation to test the taste threshold of the soldiers and endoscopes to measure the number and shape of a kind of taste bud called fungiform papillae. He said: "Statistically important differences between the taste thresholds of smokers and non-smokers were detected. Differences concerning the shape and the vascularisation of fungiform papillae were also observed."

By applying electrical current to the tongue, a unique metallic taste can be generated. Measuring how much current is required before a person perceives this sensation allows determination of their taste sensitivity. The 28 smokers in the study group scored worse than the 34 non-smokers. Upon close examination with a contact endoscope, the smoker's tongues had flatter fungiform papillae, with a reduced blood supply.

Pavlos concludes: "Nicotine may cause functional and morphological alterations of papillae, at least in young adults."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Pavlos Pavlidis, Vasilios Nikolaidis, Antonia Anogeianaki, Dimitrios Koutsonikolas, Georgios Kekes and George Anogiannakis. Evaluation of young smokers and non-smokers with electrogustometry and contact endoscopy. BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders, 2009; (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Smokers' Tongues Fail Taste Test." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090819234654.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2009, August 20). Smokers' Tongues Fail Taste Test. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090819234654.htm
BioMed Central. "Smokers' Tongues Fail Taste Test." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090819234654.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

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