The tongue has a unique imprint (which affects food preferences)


The distribution of bumps on the surface of the tongue could be unique and personal to each individual, just like the distribution of bumps and grooves on the fingers of a hand. In short, a tongue print could characterize us like fingerprints, and these peculiarities could be the basis of our food preferences or aversions. It follows from a study published in Scientific reports.

Map of papillae. Rayna Andreeva, a machine learning and medical imaging researcher at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, trained artificial intelligence systems to study the layout of thousands of microscopic scans of lingual papillae highlighted by silicone molds of the tongues of 15 people. The AI ​​models learned the properties and arrangement of these small anatomical structures, which are responsible for the perception of tastes, but also the texture, friction, degree of lubrication and other physical and chemical properties of ingested food.

This language belongs to… All of these key functions for transporting food and liquids into the mouth can also influence our response to food, the sense of satisfaction we feel when we eat, and our liking for this or that type of food. The team found that all of these characteristics are clearly personal. In fact, AI systems have been able to understand with some degree of accuracy (67-75%) the gender and age of the language’s owner by analyzing a single papilla, and even estimate with about 48% accuracy. , % to those who belonged to these 15 subjects. This value may not seem very high, but we believe that a random guess assumes an accuracy of only 6.66%.

Even more personalized diets. The study seems to suggest that lingual papillae may serve as a unique form of human identification, although the results will need to be confirmed in a much larger number of subjects. By studying the arrangement of these protrusions, including with the help of AI, it could be possible to understand why some people like or dislike certain foods, or to test whether certain characteristics of the papillae are related to certain health conditions. Indeed, it may be possible to use this knowledge to create “tailored” foods that are attractive to people with specific health conditions that make it difficult to eat certain types of food.


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