Monosodium Glutamate and the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome

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IT has been suggested1–4 that monosodium glutamate (MSG) is responsible for the “Chinese restaurant syndrome”—a burning sensation in the back of the neck spreading to the forearms and to the anterior thorax, accompanied by a feeling of infraorbital pressure, tightness and substernal discomfort. But no study of this phenomenon involved a double blind technique, or any other experimental condition which can be used to assess the significance of subjective reactions.

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  1. 1

    Man-Kwdk, R. Ho, New Engl. J. Med., 278, 796 (1968).

  2. 2

    Schaumburg, H. H., and Byck, R., New Engl. J. Med., 279, 105 (1968).

  3. 3

    Abos, M., Leavitt, M. R., Marmorek, L., and Wolschina, S. B., New Engl. J. Med., 279, 105 (1968).

  4. 4

    Schaumburg, H. H., Byck, R., Gerstl, G., and Mashman, J. H., Science, 163, 826 (1969).

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