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Posted by ccf neuro M.D. on June 02, 1997 at 18:21:29:
In Reply to: Salty taste on one side of tongue posted by Jane R on May 28, 1997 at 16:23:14:
: I am simply looking for alternate ideas--maybe the doctors
: : have missed something regarding this problem.
: : The person with the condition is an elderly woman
: : (74 yrs) who has been experiencing a salty taste
: : on the inside of only the left side of her mouth
: : for over 6 months. She has undergone blood tests,
: : a CAT scan, has had her dentures and mouth examined,
: : has had her medicines checked for possible
: : interactions, and has consulted with neurologists
: : and specialists in digestive disorders, all with
: : absolutely no answers. The condition has progressed to
: : the point where she now has this taste constantly,
: : and is refusing to eat because everything tastes bad.
: : Can you shed any light on this very depressing
: : problem? Perhaps a referral to an organization here
: : in Canada?
: : Thanking you in advance for your time,
: : Jane Remy
An interesting problem, that sounds anatomically feasable. Injury to (by stroke, tumor, aneurysm etc.) the seventh or ninth cranial nerves could result in unilateral (one-sided) loss of or alteration in sensation of taste, known as dysgeusia. Most of the problems that would produce such a focal and unusual symptom would require MRI (with contrast and with some additional special thin slices through the regions in the brain and skull where these fibers are most concentrated. The progressive nature of the problem and more importantly, the unfortunate starvation potentially associated with it are concerning. A feeding tube called a gastrostomy can be placed into the stomach and food directly administered through it if the patient is literally starving to death. Other possible regions of the brain that might transmit such a sensation include certain small portions of the brain stem (poorly visualized on CT) and the insula, which is where taste and flavor is consciously perceived in the brain. I would suggest in Canada, McGill Neurologic Institute in Montreal as an excellent center to be evaluated at. Information provided in the Neurology Forum is intended for general medical informational purposes only. Actual diagnosis and treatment of your specific condition should be strictly in conjunction with the patient's treating physician(s). We hope you find the information provided useful.
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