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Atrophic glossitis

This patient displayed moderate filiform taste bud atrophy, which was thought to be due to a vitamin B12 deficiency. A nutritional deficiency in vitamin B12 or iron will cause the tongue to undergo atrophic changes in its taste bud morphology, whereupon its surface will take on a pale smooth or slick appearance. This is generally referred to simply as "glossitis." (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Image Library, 1971. Public domain.)

Associated Disorders

  • Alcohol-tobacco amblyopia
  • Cerebral vascular disease
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Developmental delay
  • Folate deficiency
  • Gastric resection
  • Glossitis
  • Imerslund-Grasbeck syndrome
  • Malabsorption
  • Megaloblastic anemia
  • Myelopathy
  • Optic neuropathy
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Regional enteritis
  • Subacute combined degeneration of the spinal cord