Changes in Gustatory Perceptions of Patients with Major Depression Treated with Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS).
METHODS: Gustation and olfaction were tested using standard sniffing tests. Subjects participated in 2 sessions with the vagal stimulator switched on and off, respectively.
RESULTS: Under conditions of stimulation of the VNS, there were statistically significant differences of the threshold of perception, with an intensification of the taste "sweet" (Z=-2.0; p=0.048) and "bitter" (Z=-2.5; p=0.011) compared to the "off-mode". A statistical trend (Z=-1.7; p=0.098) for increased intensity of the taste "salty" was observed, however, these results would supposedly disappear after correction for multiple testing presumably due to the large number of variables and the small sample size. There were no statistically relevant differences concerning olfactory perception.
CONCLUSIONS: The changes of gustatory perception under conditions of vagal nerve stimulation observed in this study show another important central nervous effect of vagal stimulation on the limbic system that might be of importance in the elucidation of mechanisms of action of VNS especially on refractory depression.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.