Data from 6,584 adults aged between 16 and 92 years from a health questionnaire found that a history of otitis media increased the risk of obesity by more than 60 per cent.
Chronic infection of the middle ear can result in damage to the chorda tympani taste nerve, leading to a permanent loss of taste sensitivity.
This has previously been linked to an increased preference for fatty food and subsequent weight gain.
A second study presented at the conference linked chronic otitis media to increased obesity risk in pre-school children.
APA symposium 2008.
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