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February 2004

Comments on Neurological Aspects of Taste Disorders

Arch Neurol. 2004;61(2):297-298. doi:10.1001/archneur.61.2.297

The article by Heckmann et al1 regarding the neurological aspects of taste disorders deserves merit for the description of a generally neglected field of neurology. Although the introduction, ancillary examinations, and classification of gustatory dysfunction are concise, the description and classification of clinical disorders require some comments.

The authors point out that a fifth type of taste, namely umami (taste of glutamate), has been added. An affinity of certain receptors for fat is also widely discussed. Concerning the methods of investigation, descriptions of several peripheral examinations of the facial nerve as well as methods of detecting function of the lingual nerve are omitted,2 which can be of practical importance for assessment of the most peripheral area of taste perception. Concerning the ancillary examinations, another central point is that functional magnetic resonance imaging enables the direct detection of gustatory perception and will become an important tool in the future evaluation of taste and olfaction.3

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