Ear infections could alter taste buds

March 22, 2011 2:50:30 PM PDT
Could a common childhood problem be to blame for excess weight gain in kids?

That's the finding of new research that determines that chronic middle ear infections with fluid are linked to alterations in children's taste buds. That in turn could change their sensitivity to certain foods.

The result, scientists say, might cause kids to eat more of these foods and push them towards obesity.

The study that appears in archives of otolaryngology--head and neck surgery theorizes that chronic ear infections and inflammation might affect a particular nerve that controls taste at the front of the tongue.