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Old 12-02-2011, 03:02 PM   #21
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Loss of taste has indeed been reported as a side effect of Asacol. It is a very small number, about one-half of one percent of all people reporting Asacol side effects of all kinds. 70% of them were women. A third were over 60. That was an informal study, but taste perversion is an documented side effect and includes both loss of taste and metallic or bad tastes.

There are, of course, other possible causes, a number of them being risks for the elderly. So it's worth making sure the primary physician knows of this and can screen for other causes. Loss of taste is far more serious than one would suspect. It can contribute to depression and, as you worry about, to weight loss. If the defect is one that affects the ability to even recall tastes, there can be no appetite, because there can be no imagining any pleasure from food. Those who have certain color vision defects report similar problems. Food looks horrible. And one aspect of loss of taste can be that all food has a "bad" taste.

And you don't say if her physician has been informed. In the priority list for medical consults, a foodie forum is far from the top. Maybe she's one of the few unlucky ones who suffer this side effect. Maybe there's an alternative medication.
The food has a bad taste was about which my mom complained. I was lucky if I could get her to eat 1/4 of a sandwich at lunch. And, things she always liked, "I don't like this, it doesn't taste good." It was so frustrating.
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Old 12-02-2011, 03:04 PM   #22
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The whole system of sensors and brain processing that makes up the senses is very complex. And the place of taste and smell in our lives is far larger than we first think. People who lose their sense of smell worry that they can't smell something burning. They can't experience another person closely. They can't smell their cologne, the smell of their hair, or even if their clothes stink. They can't fully taste food, as we understand from when we have a bad cold. More subtle, but ultimately devastating, they can't smell the world. As they walk down a street, one whole dimension is closed to them. I suspect we taste the world, too. Without thinking about it, it's a part of the whole picture we would miss if it vanished.

When a sense is lost, it's common for "phantoms" to appear. Someone without taste may sense a nasty or metallic "taste." The some colorblind can't tell if a steak is raw or cooked. Some can't stomach spinach, because it's not green but looks like something every cowboy would recognize in the pasture. And then there's Synsepalum dulcificum, the berry that makes everything sweet for a while. It doesn't alter every flavor. They say Guinness tastes like sweet chocolate, and pineapple becomes so sweet you can hardly stand it. That's entirely different from, for instance, the scientist who recorded his experiences after radiation therapy on a cancer of the tongue that knocked out all taste. Tastes started coming back one at a time. Sweet was first. A vanilla milkshake was generic sweet. No other taste.

Kind of gives you a new appreciation of being able to smell fresh bread, see the colors of a slice of rare roast beef, and taste an olive. Who would eat bread otherwise. It would be like eating styrofoam. I suspect a boiled potato would be pretty dreadful, and melted butter on it would just be some disgusting ooze. And you'd slap someone who served you bacon.
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Old 12-02-2011, 03:20 PM   #23
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The food has a bad taste was about which my mom complained. I was lucky if I could get her to eat 1/4 of a sandwich at lunch. And, things she always liked, "I don't like this, it doesn't taste good." It was so frustrating.
And you have to wonder what's up. Is she tasting it, but her brain is misinterpreting the signals? Or is there no taste at all, and her brain is constructing a phantom, because it knows food should have taste, but it's lost the memory of taste?

When you start thinking about it, without taste, we're left with only the temperature and texture or food. And those just aren't very attractive on their own. Just lumps of stuff. It seems that, once humans are out of infancy, they need some powerful motivation to put anything into their mouths. (You over there in the corner! I heard that snicker.) For food, it's flavor and temperature combined. I don't think the texture is going to be pleasant without taste. We're pretty much done with the gum wad once the flavor's shot. I can't think of a single food item that I could offer someone who had no sense of taste that would be in any way attractive to them. I guess you'd load up their drinking water with sugar and vitamins. But we expect taste, even with water and don't like distilled water, which is what I suppose it would taste like.
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Old 12-02-2011, 03:30 PM   #24
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Quite a few of my friends have complained over the years that "I have no taste".

They are usually referring to my clothes or companions.

That part of "The human psyche" that makes up "taste" and "art" is missing in me almost completely.

It's a wonder that I can cook.
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Old 12-02-2011, 05:51 PM   #25
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It has been 3 years since my mother was on IV antibiotics for 12 weeks/daily. Her appetite has greatly improved. I remember the doctor telling me that what she had experienced was wasting and we'd be lucky if she gained back 10-15 lb. She has gained back almost all of the 30 lb she lost (and is still mad at my brother and me for getting rid of the clothes she wore at that weight because she's had to get rid of her size 6-8 clothes and buy 12-14 again--we didn't think she'd wear those again). But it took a good 9-12 months before she started eating regular portions--rather than "kiddie menu" size.

What was also frustrating about that time, was that one day she would eat something, the next time I'd serve the same dish, it didn't taste good. I was going on "she ate this, so I'll make this again." She does use a lot of salt. I don't salt anything when I cook for her and I put celery seed and Mrs. Dash out, but she usually demands salt. My dad always says that the food presentation is better than at a restaurant, so I don't think presentation has anything to do with it.

What I have noticed the last couple of times I've been there, is she really likes Coke. My brother tells me not to buy it for her, but ... I do, she's 80. She usually wants it around 4:00 in the afternoon. When she does, she cleans her plate and often asks for more. I don't know if the Coke stimulates her appetite or not. She's not at risk re: diabetes, so I figure, if she wants a glass of Coke, she's 80, why not?
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:50 PM   #26
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I recently read an article stating that old age dulls the tastebuds, and meds and med mixes can too. I couldn't find any side effects from the meds she's on that diminish taste. I did tell her to talk to her doctor.
Would you mind defining "old age?"
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:53 PM   #27
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Would you mind defining "old age?"
My mom's 78. Not sure what the definition of "old age" is, Sherry!
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:04 PM   #28
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Not sure what the definition of "old age" is, Sherry!
Ha ha! What I meant was what was your definition of old age. My Aunt will turn 103 next month - that's old.

I'm 62 and my taste has diminished some because of the allergies meds I take. The only thing that brings it back is Prednisone which is not good for me. One thing that I have learned the hard way, is that all of the side effects of meds aren't always stated by the drug companies. Talk to the doctor, but more importantly, talk to the pharmacist. He will know about the meds.
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:25 PM   #29
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Ha ha! What I meant was what was your definition of old age. My Aunt will turn 103 next month - that's old.

I'm 62 and my taste has diminished some because of the allergies meds I take. The only thing that brings it back is Prednisone which is not good for me. One thing that I have learned the hard way, is that all of the side effects of meds aren't always stated by the drug companies. Talk to the doctor, but more importantly, talk to the pharmacist. He will know about the meds.
My mom can function briefly on Prednisone too. She only uses it when she visits and wants to walk for brief periods of time. She doesn't take it otherwise.

Her pharm is her best friend. I did encourage her to see if there's a replacement med for her Crohns.
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:25 PM   #30
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It has been 3 years since my mother was on IV antibiotics for 12 weeks/daily. Her appetite has greatly improved. I remember the doctor telling me that what she had experienced was wasting and we'd be lucky if she gained back 10-15 lb. She has gained back almost all of the 30 lb she lost (and is still mad at my brother and me for getting rid of the clothes she wore at that weight because she's had to get rid of her size 6-8 clothes and buy 12-14 again--we didn't think she'd wear those again). But it took a good 9-12 months before she started eating regular portions--rather than "kiddie menu" size.

What was also frustrating about that time, was that one day she would eat something, the next time I'd serve the same dish, it didn't taste good. I was going on "she ate this, so I'll make this again." She does use a lot of salt. I don't salt anything when I cook for her and I put celery seed and Mrs. Dash out, but she usually demands salt. My dad always says that the food presentation is better than at a restaurant, so I don't think presentation has anything to do with it.

What I have noticed the last couple of times I've been there, is she really likes Coke. My brother tells me not to buy it for her, but ... I do, she's 80. She usually wants it around 4:00 in the afternoon. When she does, she cleans her plate and often asks for more. I don't know if the Coke stimulates her appetite or not. She's not at risk re: diabetes, so I figure, if she wants a glass of Coke, she's 80, why not?

why on earth would your brother want to deny his 80 year old mother anything at all that she wants to eat or drink that isn't obviously harmful to her health? when (if) i ever get to be 80, nobody will be telling me i can't eat bacon, or sugar cubes, or drink wine, whenever i choose. even if i am incompetent. perhaps especially if i am incompetent. i am not going out with a whimper....
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