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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Evaluation of young smokers and non-smokers with Electrogustometry and Contact Endoscopy

Pavlidis Pavlos*, Nikolaidis Vasilios, Anogeianaki Antonia, Koutsonikolas Dimitrios, Kekes Georgios and Anogianakis Georgios

BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders 2009, 9:9  doi:10.1186/1472-6815-9-9

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Study methodology clarification

Chaudhary Farqan Riaz   (2010-07-20 12:00)  Department of ENT, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Infirmary Square, Leicester. U.K. LE1 5WW email

Dear Editor

I read this article with great interest and would like to clarify a few points.
The authors conclude statistically significant differences between the taste thresholds of smokers and non-smokers. However, the thresholds differed in smokers themselves between the right and left of tongues and circumvallate papillae. Thresholds among non-smokers’ right and left of tongue and soft palate also differed. Given these intra-group differences, how can authors conclude inter-group differences?

Also when six smokers showed normal taste thresholds, they were examined additionally three times. Was this because the results were not the anticipated ones? This introduced an element of differential investigation between the groups. Hence, in my humble opinion, it would have been better for this re-testing not to have taken place or alternatively all of the subjects should have been subjected to re-testing according to the same protocol.

Also, do authors or readers feel that the apparent smoking induced effect on taste could be due to its effect partially on olfaction and not just due to direct adverse effects on taste buds?

It would be interesting to gauge readers’ and authors’ thoughts on these ideas.

Competing interests

None declared

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