Vintage spread proves to be sorry substitute for superior Burgundy

January 21, 2005

A retired psychology lecturer has volunteered for scientific experiments after a stroke robbed him of the ability to enjoy the flavour of his favourite wines and food, writes Steve Farrar.

Simon Carey, a former social psychologist at the City of London Polytechnic - now City University - has offered a generous prize to anyone who can cure his dysgeusia or taste impairment.

This condition means that he can no longer stomach dishes he once enjoyed as he perceives deeply unpleasant flavours when eating them.

The supermarket readymeals he once consumed now taste disgusting "which is driving my wife round the bend".

He is particularly upset that his love of "superior Burgundy" has been wrecked as all red wines now taste like vinegar. Instead he craves Edinburgh rock, Guernsey cream and Marmite.

Dr Carey's dysgeusia is the side effect of a stroke three years ago, which disrupted the nerve pathways from the tastebuds to the brain. In most cases, there is no effective treatment.

He has called on fellow psychologists to devise experiments to investigate the condition.

"I'm an ideal subject for anyone doing experiments looking into dysgeusia," he said.

So far, Dr Carey's appeal has prompted a number of supportive replies but no hint at a cure.

But one psychologist has offered to put him in touch with a neuropsychologist who used to be a wine trader. Another sent Dr Carey a piece of Edinburgh rock.

If you think you can help, please contact Dr Carey at The Cottage, 67 Fitzjohn's Avenue, London NW3 6PE.

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