Sense of taste fades with age

“As we get older, there may come a time when we find ourselves drawn not to food with good taste or food that tastes good but simply to food that has any flavor at all.” This depressing statement came from today’s New york Times.”

“Blame your aging taste buds, if you want. You’ll probably be wrong, but there are a lot more of them (about 9,000) to point the finger at than the likely real culprit, your nose. “When people talk about their taste, they’re really talking about the smell rather than the taste,” said Dr. Scott P. Stringer, chairman of the otolaryngology department at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“As it happens, taste buds do diminish as people get older, usually starting at 40 to 50 in women and 50 to 60 in men (why later for them is unknown). And those that remain do not, so to speak, step up to the plate to make up for their departed colleagues. No, they begin to atrophy, and sometime around age 60, people may notice that they have lost some taste sensation, usually beginning with salty and sweet tastes and then bitter and sour ones.

But it is the changes in the nose that really matter. Among them, said Dr. Stringer, a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, are a decrease in the number of sensor cells that detect aromas. These cells routinely die out and are replaced, but in older people the replacement process does not work as well.”


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