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Acta Otolaryngol Suppl. 2002;(546):16-26.

Influence of aging on electrogustometry thresholds.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Nihon University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Taste thresholds were measured using electrogustometry by the same researcher at three pairs of sites in the mouth (soft palate, tongue tip and tongue base) in both smokers and non-smokers (n = 461; age range 15-94 years). Comparison of the results by decades showed that the threshold increased significantly with age, starting at age 60 for areas innervated by the chorda tympani and glossopharyngeal nerves and at age 70 for areas innervated by the greater petrosal nerve. For the older teenage subjects, females had significantly lower thresholds than males and thresholds for women tended to be lower than those for men at all sites examined. Thresholds for the two sides of the tongue were within approximately 6 dB of each other. Thresholds on the soft palate were consistently higher than those on the tongue tip and tongue base. Little difference was detected between thresholds on the tongue tip and those on the tongue base except in older teenage subjects, in whom thresholds on the tongue tip were significantly lower than those on the tongue base. Male smokers in their 30s and 40s had significantly lower thresholds on the soft palate than non-smokers in this age group.

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