CNN reports that a Miami hospital is studying whether miracle fruit can restore the appetite of cancer patients, whose sense of taste has been dulled by chemotherapy.
“What happens in patients is the food tastes so metallic and bland, it becomes repulsive,” said Dr. Mike Cusnir, a lead researcher on the project and oncologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center. “Most of the patients undergoing chemotherapy have weight loss. Then they cut further into their diet and then this furthers the weight loss. It causes malnutrition, decreased function of the body and electrolyte imbalance.”
One of Cusnir’s patients, Don Blechman, told him about the fruit after discovering it while he and his wife volunteered at a tropical fruit garden in Coral Gables, Florida.
“We didn’t need it, but we thought it’s wonderful and told a lot of people,” said his wife, Terry Blechman. “If you can’t eat because everything tastes bitter, and one berry gives you back your taste for a meal, what is it worth? It’s worth everything.”
Cusnir addresses the patient feedback thus far:
“The majority have given good feedback that it did improve taste,” Cusnir said. “A few patients felt there wasn’t much change. The feedback is mixed as it usually is in any situation. It’s been encouraging, but we haven’t analyzed the data so far.”
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