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Forum Name: Brain Tumors

Question: Everything tastes salty. Why?


 psmadden - Sat Jul 10, 2004 10:14 pm

For the past few months, I've noticed that almost everything I eat tastes salty - even ice cream! Normally-salty foods taste unbearably salty. What could be causing this? I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian, so maybe I'm not getting enough B12??? :?

Many thanks,
Pamela
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Sun Jul 11, 2004 2:45 am

User avatar The salty taste you are experiencing could be due to many causes. It could be that you are dehydrated especially if you are taking a medicine such as a diuretic, or drinking too much cafienated drinks (coffee, coke.. etc). Alcohol also has diuretic properties.

Other causes include infection in the mucosa of the mouth or a post-nasal drip due to chronic sinusitis. If you have an increased production of tears this could be a very rare cause. An even rarer cause is due to brain lesions such as a new epileptic lesion, brain tumor or a migraine.

If you are not dehydrated and do not have sinusitis then you should seek an appointment with your physician.
 psmadden - Tue Jul 20, 2004 10:00 pm

I saw a neurologist yesterday because of numerous migraines, vertigo, and a change in my sense of taste. He's ordered an MRI because he suspects some type of tumor is pressing on a nerve. My question is, what kind of tumor do you think he suspects, and what type of treatment could I expect, if any? I realize your answer would be purely speculative.

Thank you!
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Wed Jul 21, 2004 2:16 am

User avatar Hello again,
I am glad you saw a neurologist. In your last post I gave you a list of possibilities for the salty taste in your mouth which included the possibility of a brain tumor. Your neurologist has had a better chance to evaluate you since he has assessed you in person. He would be able to weigh out all the options and consider the likelyhood of one of them more than the other. However, and from a purely speculative point of view, I think your neurologist is mainly ruling out the most dangerous cause (brain tumor) before he considers other less dangerous (and more common) causes of your symptoms.

I would advise you not to worry about the scan its just part of the medical diagnostic process.

If it were a brain tumor which type would it be? I suspect what you mean is would it be benign or malignant? That would be hard to tell even for your neurologist at any point. If it were a brain tumor then your age could hint at a possible malignant lesion. However, certain details would make us suspect a benign tumor: the long duration of your symptoms (months) is more common with benign lesions. Indeed the symptoms themselves, are more common with a steadily growing tumor than a malignant one. However you should know that with brain tumors in particular the spectrum between benign and malignant types is a rather continuous one (there are so many types that behave at varying degrees of aggressiveness ranging from purely benign to low malignant potential to agressive).

Only a biopsy would determine the true nature of a brain tumor and its behaviour.
Again, I remind you to not worry!
Please post the results of your scan to this topic.
 psmadden - Wed Jul 21, 2004 7:16 pm

Thank you for your reply. I must admit, I completely discounted your response to my initial post. However, I've changed my opinion about that, and I think it's pretty impressive that you suggested what you did, without even seeing me in person.

My MRI is next week, and I'll let you know what the results are when I get them.

Again, thank you! :)
 psmadden - Fri Jul 30, 2004 11:11 pm

My MRI showed some calcification. I'm having a CT scan this coming Tuesday, although I don't understand why. The nurse was very evasive (I think she was lazy, more than anything else.) I asked to speak to my doctor, but he was off today.

What can you tell me about calcification, and how is it treated?

Many thanks,
Pam

 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Sat Jul 31, 2004 12:32 am

User avatar Hi psmadden,

Calcification of in the brain could be a million things. From tumors, to vascular anomalies to even metabolic diseases. The distribution of calcification is very important at determining its source. If its located in one area it may suggest a tumor. If its located in the course of known vessels that may suggest a vascular malformation. If its widely distributed it may be a metabolic disease.

Physiological calcification is seen in the pineal gland and choroid plexus from the age of approximately 8 to 10 years.
Pathological calcification may be seen in the meninges (lining of the brain), brain parenchyma (brain substance), including the basal ganglia (an area in the center of the brain), and in the cerebral vasculature. Calcification may also be seen in intracranial tumours such as craniopharyngioma and in areas of necrosis following infection, haemorrhage, or infarction. Gyriform calcification is seen in neuroectodermal dysplasias such as Sturge Weber syndrome. Dural calcification is seen in chronic subdural haematoma and in Gorlin's syndrome. Extensive early calcification may be seen in the choroid plexus in patients with neurofibromatosis.

CT is the most sensitive means of detection of intracranial calcification. MRI is less sensitive to the detection of intracranial calcification than CT.

Can you tell us what the report says about the distribution?
It may still be that the calcification is urelated to your symptoms and just something discovered along the way.

Best regards,

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