The tongue appears not to be divided into taste sections as originally believed. Put a bit of sugar or salt on different sections of your tongue and your taste buds can pick up their chemicals anywhere. What can impact your taste? Colds, flu, allergies, or anything that makes your nose stuffy, which reduces the flow of chemicals to your olfactory receptors. Smoking can reduce the number of taste buds you have on your tongue, which can reduce taste intensity. So can the aging process. As you grow older your taste buds may not get replaced properly. An older person may only have 5,000 working taste buds instead of 8,000-10,000, which can impact the intensity of flavors. Loss of smell is one of the initial symptoms in degenerative neurological diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. More tomorrow.