Kristin Mahood, Long Wang, Betty L McMicken and Cheryl Rock
Objective: This study aimed to augment previous research that investigated flavor perception in isolated congenital aglossia by a whole food/beverage approach. Isolated congenital aglossia is the rare condition of absence of a tongue at birth without the presence of other symptoms. Previous studies confirmed taste perception in isolated congenital aglossia using single taste solutions including sour, salty, sweet, bitter, and umami.
Methods: The current randomized, double-blinded study age- and sex-matched a naïve wine taster and sommelier to the 46 year-old female with isolated congenital aglossia. A Nose and Palate Survey with 54 variables created based on the Court of Master Sommeliers Deductive Tasting Format was used to evaluate flavor perception. All of the five red wines were tested in triplicate in random order, for a total of 15 separate samples per subject.
Results: There was a significant difference in overall nose ratings among the participants F(2,42)=63.461, p<0.001, with post hoc analysis revealing differences in overall nose ratings between the person with isolated congenital aglossia and sommelier (p<0.001), as well as between the naïve wine taster and sommelier (p<0.001). There was a significant difference in overall palate ratings among the participants F(2,42)=48.651, p<0.001, and post hoc analysis revealed differences in overall palate ratings between the person with isolated congenital aglossia and sommelier (p<0.001), as well as between the naïve wine taster and sommelier (p<0.001). There were no significant differences between the person with isolated congenital aglossia and naïve wine taster with a tongue for either overall nose or palate ratings.
Conclusion: These results support previous findings that individuals with isolated congenital aglossia can discern various taste and flavor stimuli and suggest that absence of tongue does not greatly affect wine flavor perception among naïve wine tasters.