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Med Hypotheses. 2013 Sep;81(3):496-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2013.06.018. Epub 2013 Jul 8.

Might Helicobacter pylori infection be associated with distortion on taste perception?

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Department of Neurological, Neuropsychological, Morphological and Motor Sciences, Anatomy and Histology Section, Medical University of Verona, Italy.


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) has been found in dental plaque, saliva and lingual sites. To date, taste or olfaction disorders related to H. pylori infections have never been reported. In a review of the literature we found two papers just referring to a sour taste sensation during H. pylori infection. Studies in animal models suggest that changes in taste perception may relate to infections which damage taste buds. We observed an interesting clinical case of a 24-year-old Ghanaian woman with documented H. pylori gastric infection, complaining of cacosmia and cacogeusia. Taste evaluation indicated hypogeusia and highlighted a specific difficulty in discriminating between bitter and acid tastes. Saliva fluid was found positive for the ureA gene (H. pylori ureasi A). On the basis of this report, we hypothesize that taste perception might be correlated with a documented H. pylori infection. So, in a dyspeptic clinical picture in both pre and post diagnostic phase when H. pylori infection is suspected, taste evaluation might be important. Further studies are certainly needed in a large patient population to clarify the possible connection between H. pylori infection and smell-taste distortion.

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