To the Editor.—
Idiopathic hypogeusia with dysgeusia, hyposmia and dysosmia cannot be called a new syndrome or a new disease. Frostig and Spies mentioned these psychosensory disturbances in 1939.1They are but a part of a very old disease which causes the perception to change—perceptual dysfunction, as result of a vitamin B3 deficiency. The disease is subclinical pellagra and the cure is niacin.Subclinical pellagra is a deficiency syndrome characterized by the presence of perceptual changes affecting any or all of the special and properioceptive senses, associated with neurasthenia. It is due to a deficiency of or an increased demand for niacin, the administration of which causes prompt disappearance of the symptom complex.2Henkin et al have discovered changes in perception involving only two of the special senses—taste and smell. I would predict that 90% of these cases could fulfill the criteria for subclinical pellagra. In my
Green RF. Subclinical Pellagra and Idiopathic Hypogeusia. JAMA. 1971;218(8):1303. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190210157034
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