Entries in OME (1)


Could Inner Ear Infections Be a Cause of Obesity in Children?

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- Researchers in Seoul, South Korea suggest that a certain type of ear infection could cause excess weight gain in kids. 

Findings in the new study, published in the March issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, show that chronic middle-ear infections, or chronic otitis media with effusion (OME) are associated with a change in the taste buds of children, causing a variation in their sensitivity to certain foods.  The researchers suspect that, because of this association, kids want to eat more of these foods, leading them closer to obesity.

The researchers at Kyung Hee University in Seoul gave taste tests to two groups of 42 children and also measured their body mass index (BMI).  One group with OME had a tube inserted to drain fluid from their ear.  The other group did not have OME.

They found that children with ear infections tended to be heavier than the children not suffering from ear infections.  Children with ear infections also had a higher threshold for sweet and salty flavors due to a reduced taste in the front part of the tongue.  The study authors reported that more food may be eaten to get the sweet and salty tastes the kids are craving, contributing to obesity.

But some pediatric experts say more research is needed to validate the study's findings.  Carolyn Landis, associate professor of pediatrics at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital at University Hospitals in Cleveland, says it could be that childhood obesity can cause children to be more susceptible to inner ear infections, HealthDay News reports.

The study notes that obese people can be more vulnerable to inner ear infections because they have a thicker fat padding around their ear.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio