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Ear infections make fatty food sound good

Surveys shows link between chronic childhood ear infections and preference for fatty foods, obesity

PHILADELPHIA — Childhood ear infections may not just put hearing at risk. Kids who get them may develop a strong affinity for fatty foods and could be predisposed to obesity, surveys now suggest. Researchers suspect that infections of the middle ear may alter the sense of taste by damaging a nerve that carries sensations from the tongue to the brain.

A childhood history of frequent, serious ear infections (defined as those requiring antibiotics) doubles the risk of becoming obese later in life, psychologist Linda Bartoshuk of the University of Florida in Gainesville reported on August 20 in Philadelphia during a meeting of the American Chemical Society. Those with ear infection histories also have a stronger preference for fatty foods, she said.

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