Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low number of taste buds linked to older age, higher fasting blood sugar

Date:
June 23, 2014
Source:
Endocrine Society
Summary:
The number of taste buds we have on our tongue decreases as we get older, and the lower the number of taste buds, the more likely for fasting blood glucose (sugar) levels to be higher than normal, research has found. Because high fasting blood sugar level is a main characteristic of diabetes, the study findings suggest that the number of taste buds plays a role in glucose metabolism -- how the body uses sugar -- during aging, the authors proposed.

A study finds that the number of taste buds we have on our tongue decreases as we get older, and that the lower the number of taste buds, the more likely for fasting blood glucose (sugar) levels to be higher than normal. The results will be presented Sunday at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago.

Because high fasting blood sugar level is a main characteristic of diabetes, the study findings suggest that the number of taste buds plays a role in glucose metabolism -- how the body uses sugar -- during aging, the authors proposed.

"The reduced number of taste buds with advancing age might be linked to the increased incidence of Type 2 diabetes among older adults," said the study's lead investigator, Chee Chia, MD, a medical officer at the National Institute of Aging (NIA) in Baltimore.

Diabetes affects more than 25 percent of Americans over age 65, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Chia explained why she and a co-worker at the NIA, Josephine Egan, MD, thought there might be a connection between taste buds and diabetes. Taste buds at the tip of the tongue, whose medical term is "fungiform papillae," contain sweet taste receptors, and past studies show that people with Type 2 diabetes have impaired sweet taste. Furthermore, animal studies suggest that taste buds produce hormones that are important for glucose metabolism and that, in rodents, taste buds decrease in number with age.

To learn whether humans also have an age-related decline in the density of taste buds, Chia and Egan analyzed data from 353 adults who participated in the NIA's Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging between 2011 and 2014. This ongoing observational study of normal aging in community-dwelling volunteers included counts of the density, or number, of taste buds at the tip of the tongue after staining the subject's tongue with blue food dye.

The researchers found that older age was associated with fewer taste buds, a finding also seen in a larger clinical study published last October (Beaver Dam Offspring Study).

In addition, Chia reported that the fewer taste buds that subjects had, the higher their fasting blood sugar levels were and the less they had of a beneficial fat cell hormone called adiponectin. Prior studies found that obesity and Type 2 diabetes are associated with lower adiponectin levels.

"To my knowledge, this is the first association found between the number of taste buds and fasting glucose," Chia said. "It's very possible they could be unrelated, so we plan to do the study over a longer time, to confirm our findings."

"It's also possible," she added, "that having fewer taste buds means fewer hormones are secreted that may control glucose metabolism."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Endocrine Society. "Low number of taste buds linked to older age, higher fasting blood sugar." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623092021.htm>.
Endocrine Society. (2014, June 23). Low number of taste buds linked to older age, higher fasting blood sugar. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623092021.htm
Endocrine Society. "Low number of taste buds linked to older age, higher fasting blood sugar." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623092021.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins