Childhood ear infections linked to obesity later in life

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Moderate-to-severe ear infections in children may damage a taste-sensing serve that could pave the way for overeating and adult obesity, reported researchers at the American Chemical Society Fall 2008 meeting.

Moderate-to-severe ear infections in children may damage a taste-sensing serve that could pave the way for overeating and adult obesity, reported researchers at the American Chemical Society Fall 2008 meeting.

The findings were based on two data sets: one of responses to a taste questionnaire administered to 7,308 persons, and the other a detailed group of studies of 120 participants.

The questionnaire responses showed that 17% of those with a history of moderate-to-severe ear infections were obese, while 9% of those with no infection history were obese. In addition, 37% of those with an ear infection history were overweight, compared with 32% of those who were overweight with no such history.

Participants with a significant infection history also assigned higher pleasure scores to sweet and rich foods. The findings suggest that there may be a role of chorda tympani damage in mediating the link between childhood ear infection and later obesity.

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Tina Tan, MD, FAAP, FIDSA, FPIDS, editor in chief, Contemporary Pediatrics, professor of pediatrics, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, pediatric infectious diseases attending, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
Nicole Peña Sahdala, MD, internist, gastroenterologist specialist in bariatric endoscopy, ABIM certified | Image Credit: Provided
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