In this blog I have written about a number of different disorders of perception that can go undiagnosed, and here is another one. Taste disorders are the inability to properly identify one or more of the tastes sweet, salty, bitter, umami (savoury) or sour. I know that more complex tastes are percieved by the sense of smell, so loss of the ability to percieve those would presumably not be a taste disorder, but a smell disorder of which there are a number of different types. According to the interesting ABC News article cited below taste disorders can be caused by a number of different medical conditions including Bell’s palsy, renal failure, diabetes and middle ear infections. It is suggested that taste disorders can cause obesity, so I imagine that a nasty feedback loop could develop, with obesity causing diabetes, the diabetes causing a taste disorder, and the taste disorder making the obesity worse which makes the diabetes worse etc etc. Serious stuff! It appears that taste and smell disorders can both be symptoms of diseases, so if you find that your perception of the world of smells or tastes has altered, it might be a good idea to see your doctor about it.
Michael Edwards Taste disorders linked to childhood obesity. ABC News. Updated April 18, 2011. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/04/18/3194146.htm
National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Taste Disorders http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/smelltaste/taste.html