Olfaction and gustation contribute both to the appreciation of food flavours. Although acquired loss of smell has profound consequences on the pleasure of eating, food habits and body weight, less is known about the impact of congenital olfactory impairment on gustatory processing. Here we examined taste identification accuracy and its neural correlates using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 12 congenitally olfactory impaired individuals and 8 normosmic controls. Results showed that taste identification was worse in congenitally olfactory impaired compared to control subjects. The fMRI results demonstrated that olfactory impaired individuals had reduced activation in medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC) relative to normosmic subjects while tasting. In addition, olfactory performance as measured with the Sniffin' Sticks correlated positively with taste-induced blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) signal increases in bilateral mOFC and anterior insula. Our data provide a neurological underpinning for the reduced taste perception in congenitally olfactory impaired individuals.
|Status||Udgivet - sep. 2014|