Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tasteful Research Opens Doors

Scientists have discovered that, not only do depression and anxiety have a measurable effect upon the sense of taste, it is even possible to determine which chemicals are most out of balance by how taste has been diminished. This is exciting for a couple of reasons.

This is the first research I have seen that shows physical evidence of anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure. Anything that reinforces the physical nature of depression is very important. Research that demonstrates the physical symptoms of this disease go a long way towards dispelling the myth that it is "in your head." That phrase makes it sound like depression victims make a decision to suffer, which is not true. Ironically, the very nature of the disease does cause those selfsame victims to make a decision to continue suffering, but this doesn't occur until the will is compromised. Scientific research can demonstrate the physical nature of this disease, although I am of the belief that it will never discover a physical organism, a "depression virus," if you will. The root is not in the body, although much of the damage ends up there.

Diagnosis by taste-test is really just a fancy way of suggesting that we should listen to what our bodies are telling us. We are given a plethora of clues about our health, day in and day out, and either we ignore them or we just don't understand what they mean. Now we have an additional level of understanding, and another tool to use in the evaluation of our health. Another piece of the puzzle is slipped into place as diminished taste is coupled with diminished appetite in some people. We have been given one more solid tool to use to to sweep away the miasma; something corporeal with which to document a disease that prides itself on being as vaporous and insubstantial as a hunting vampire.


Petra said...

I just discovered your blog. Very interesting! Will certainly keep on reading. Are you a professional? A patient? Both? ;-)

Terence said...

I consider myself a professional former patient. Thanks for reading!