Cal State University lengthy Beach researchers Betty McMicken and also Long Wang, left, have been working v Kelly Rogers, center, who was born v the rare condition Isolated Congenital Aglossia (born without a tongue). The three highlight the testing procedure where Rogers would certainly sample clear liquids and also describe the taste. Friday, December 12, 2014, lengthy Beach, CA. (Steve McCrank / staff Photographer)


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Cal State University lengthy Beach researcher Betty McMicken and Long Wang have actually been working with Kelly Rogers, who was born v the rare condition Isolated Congenital Aglossia (born without a tongue). A photograph diagram shows Rogers' mouth whereby the basic of the mouth acts together a tongue. Friday, December 12, 2014, lengthy Beach, CA. (Steve McCrank / employee Photographer)


LONG coast >> brand-new research by two professors in ~ Cal State long Beach shows that people may not need tongues to speak or taste.

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Working v Kelly Rogers, a Saddleback university student that was born without a tongue yet has to be able to speak since she was a child, Betty McMicken, combine professor in the department of Speech-Language Pathology, and Long Wang, assistant professor that nutrition in the room of Family and also Consumer Sciences, discovered that she detected all straightforward tastes.

The research may lead to aid for those who have partially or completely lost their tongues — with a procedure dubbed a glossectomy — since of cancer or other reasons.

“She’s changing the vocal shape, horn, the resonator,” McMicken said. “So the much more we know around that, the more we can aid individuals that have had actually injuries or surgery. The other thing is that we have not discover taste in individuals who have had glossectomies, partial glossectomies, head and neck cancer, also neurological deficits.”


McMicken, a professor, clinician and also researcher in speech-language pathology for an ext than 48 years, was recently graced through the “Honors the the Association” from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, i m sorry recognizes world in interaction sciences and also disorders for excellence in the locations of teaching, research, neighborhood service and professional expertise.

She and Wang have been looking into isolated congenital aglossia, the rare condition in i m sorry a person is born there is no a tongue. Rogers, your test case, is among 11 civilization recorded in medical literature due to the fact that 1718 to have actually the condition, and there room fewer 보다 10 in the civilization today who have actually it, McMicken said.

She and Rogers very first met in 1986 when Rogers, who learned to talk at a young age with muscles in she mouth and also throat, landed on Western Medical center in Santa Ana to check out if doctors could reconstruct she jaw in ~ the age of 16.

McMicken and also a team of doctors determined that surgical treatment would influence Rogers’ capability to speak. However McMicken never forgot Rogers. She and also a medical team tape-recorded audio and video of Rogers speaking.

It was about 25 years later that she started trying to find Rogers. The two linked in 2012 ~ a Press-Telegram article around McMicken’s research and also her search to situate Rogers, that eventually ended up being the professor’s research assistant.


With Rogers as their check subject, McMicken and also Wang conducted several exam on taste, and parts of her mouth and throat when she spoke.

In addition to she speech, they uncovered she might detect the major tastes, indigenous sour and also sweet come bitter and also salty. The study included her identify tastes from liquids combined with flavoring, and also it to be the very first to display umami — the taste native glutamate, an amino acid discovered naturally in countless foods — together detectable by a person without a tongue.

The muscle fixed in the floor of she mouth has actually been built up through year of speaking. The massive contracts and also relaxes and also she is able to touch the muscle to her palate. Other structures that the mouth are affiliated in Rogers’ capability to speak.

One the the more interesting elements of Rogers’ condition, the researchers said, was the she has had no clinical intervention.

“What we’ve to be observing is the herbal condition, the herbal progression,” Wang said. “Because Betty pertained to know Kelly practically three decades back and all the documents are here, it’s been yes, really fascinating to monitor someone for so long.”

Rogers is among the co-authors top top a paper about the taste experiment, published online in august in the newspaper of oral Biology and also Craniofacial Research.

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Her parents to be told by doctors she could never be able to speak normally, if in ~ all. She said while growing up, civilization didn’t think she to be without a tongue, because she speak so well. Rogers plans to examine speech-language pathology in ~ CSULB.

Like other college students, she enjoys stout beers.

“I just had this beer, Xocoveza, through Stone,” she said. “Oh mine gosh. An excellent stuff.”

McMicken stated Rogers is a unique case, and continued studies will prove an important for people who will need their tongues totally or partially removed.

She looked in ~ Rogers and said, “I’ve got a lot of to discover from you.”