Navigation Links
Could a Type of Ear Infection Help Make Kids Obese?
Date:3/22/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- New research hints at a surprising culprit for excess weight gain in kids: a certain type of ear infection.

The new study finds that chronic middle-ear infections with fluid are linked to alterations in children's taste buds that change their sensitivity to certain foods. This, in turn, might cause kids to eat more of these foods and push them towards obesity, the Korean researchers speculate.

But to see if chronic middle-ear infection actually helps cause obesity will take "larger studies with more patients," said Dr. Jeffrey P. Simons, assistant professor of otolaryngology at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. "As an initial study it's very provocative," he noted.

"This doesn't necessarily mean that one causes the other," added Simons, who was not involved with the study. "There are a lot of risk factors for [this type of ear infection]," he said.

The findings are published in the March issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Chronic otitis media with effusion (OME) "is basically middle-ear fluid that is present in the absence of acute infection for three months or more," Simons explained. "It tends not to have the classic signs of acute inflammation like pain and bulging ear drum and fever, although there can be symptoms [such as] a clogged sensation in the ear or decreased hearing."

Researchers have already noted a possible link between childhood obesity and chronic OME. This team of investigators speculated that related changes in taste buds might connect the two. According to the study, chronic ear infection and inflammation might affect a particular nerve, the chorda tympani, that controls taste at the front of the tongue.

"The nerve that supplies taste to the front two-thirds of the tongue goes right through the middle ear where the fluid is sitting," Simons explained. "[The authors' theory is that] there may be some chronic underlying inflammation of that nerve that increases sensation or increases the taste threshold," he said.

The investigators, from Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea, conducted taste tests and measured body mass index (BMI) in two groups of children: 42 with chronic OME who were having a tube inserted to drain the fluid from their ear and another 42 children without chronic OME.

Children suffering from ear infections tended to be heavier than their counterparts. They also had reduced taste in the front part of the tongue, in particular, leading to a raised threshold for sweet and salt tastes. There was also a reduced ability to detect sour and bitter, but this was much less pronounced.

A higher taste threshold could indicate that children with chronic OME need to eat more food to get the sweet and salty tastes they crave, explained the study authors. And according to Simons, that could mean taking in more calories, "resulting in a contribution to obesity."

If this, in fact, does turn out to be the case, "this may be another reason to treat chronic OME," Simons reasoned.

On the other hand, the relationship may not be so simple. Carolyn Landis, associate professor of pediatrics at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital at University Hospitals in Cleveland, said the connection might be the other way around, with obesity helping to cause ear infections.

"It's kind of a chicken-and-egg thing," she said. As the study noted, obese people do have a thicker fat padding around their ear, which can predispose them to ear infections.

"It would be interesting to explore this further but from this one study, we can't say much definitively," Landis said.

More information

There's more on ear infections at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

SOURCES: Carolyn Landis, Ph.D., associate professor, pediatrics, Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, University Hospitals, Cleveland; Jeffrey P. Simons, M.D., assistant professor, otolaryngology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; March 2011, Archives of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. NFL Upsets Could Trigger Domestic Violence
2. Health information technology control tower could improve earthquake response
3. New blood analysis chip could lead to disease diagnosis in minutes
4. Haiti Cholera Epidemic Could Sicken 779,000 This Year
5. Poorly presented risk statistics could misinform health decisions
6. Use of $4 generic drug programs could save society billions of dollars, study shows
7. MIT scientists identify new H1N1 mutation that could allow virus to spread more easily
8. Colonoscopy linked to decrease in colorectal cancer deaths, but many more could have been prevented
9. ADAM-12 gene could hold key to cancer, arthritis and cardiac treatments
10. Roundworm could provide new treatment for sepsis
11. Bone-creating protein could improve dental implant success
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Could a Type of Ear Infection Help Make Kids Obese?
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... In sleep, when the defenses of the day are ... of patients with eating disorders is significant self-criticism, and consequently these patients experience this ... regarded as maladaptive means for coping with this unease, but also leads to a ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 2016 , ... California Mobile Kitchens , a company ... latest mobile kitchen model, featuring customizable stainless steel interiors and a new, 26-foot ... use anywhere in the U.S. Many of their units can be seen at ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Calls Blacklist has just been updated by mobile app ... the developer has fixed known bugs within the app. Calls Blacklist allows its users ... not consuming any of their device’s battery power or memory. It provides a powerful ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... ... –This week, Atascadero water heater company First Call Plumbing has ... the report, click here or see below. , There are two ... cons, the type chosen is almost entirely up to personal preference. However, tankless water ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... ... one is tired of trying to cram belongings into spare space that just isn’t there, ... unit, but before hastily spending money on a unit, take these tips into consideration. , ... one is often not told when utilizing these services are some tips on how to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... -- Frontier Pharma: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) ... Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a ... airways and lungs. Persistent breathing difficulties and repeated ... of the leading causes of morbidity and the ... is linked to cumulative exposure to risk factors, ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... 2016  Aethlon Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq: AEMD ... to treat life-threatening diseases, today announced results for ... 31, 2015. --> ... in our last quarterly call, we strategically advanced ... objective to establish the Aethlon Hemopurifier® as a ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016  Blueprint Medicines Corporation ... and developing highly selective investigational kinase medicines for ... appointment to its board of directors of ... nearly 30 years of industry-related experience. ... Blueprint Medicines. "Lonnel,s strong strategic experience developing and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: