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Brain Topogr. 2009 Sep;22(2):73-82. doi: 10.1007/s10548-009-0076-7. Epub 2009 Feb 6.

The cortical chronometry of electrogustatory event-related potentials.

Author information

1
Nestlé Research Center, P.O. Box 44, 1000, Lausanne 26, Switzerland. kathrin.ohla@rdls.nestle.com

Abstract

Electrogustometry (EGM) is the standard tool to assess gustatory functions in clinical environments. The stimulation elicits a percept often described as metallic, sour or salty, also referred to as electric taste. To date, the neuronal mechanisms that underlie electric taste perception are not yet fully understood. Electroencephalographic (EEG) approaches will certainly complement behavioral procedures and, furthermore, extend the understanding of gustatory processing in general and disturbances of gustatory functions in particular. We used anodal pulses applied to the tip of the participants' tongue while EEG was recorded. The major disadvantage of combining EEG and EGM, namely the electrical stimulation artifact, was overcome by means of Independent Component Analysis (ICA), which separated the EGM artifact from the neural portion of the EEG. After artifact correction, we found a largely uncontaminated electrogustatory event-related potential (eGERP) at both individual and group level. Furthermore, source analysis revealed an early involvement of bilateral insular cortices and the adjacent operculi, the areas comprising the primary taste cortex. The procedures, described in detail, pave the way for the eGERP to become an affordable and objective tool for the assessment of taste function, and thus to complement behavioral measures (i.e. EGM detection thresholds). Furthermore, they render the access to different levels of the electrogustatory processing pathway possible and by doing so they may aid the identification and localisation of lesions that cause taste disturbances.

PMID:
19199019
DOI:
10.1007/s10548-009-0076-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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