Changes in Humor May be Early Indicator for Dementia

We have all heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine.” But according to new research, a noticeable change in what makes us laugh may not be a good sign for cognitive health: it may be an early indicator for dementia.  Read more below and thank you for visiting us at Advocare of South Florida. We provideTransitional Care Management to area seniors.

Researchers from University College London (UCL) in the UK found that people whose sense of humor became darker with age were more likely to have behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) – a form of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) characterized by changes in behavior – and that this change in humor began years before disease onset.

FTD is the most common form of dementia among people in their 50s. Unlike with Alzheimer’s disease, memory problems are not a highly prominent symptom of the condition.

The researchers also found that changes in sense of humor may also be an early sign of Alzheimer’s – the most common form of dementia overall, affecting around 5.3 million Americans.

Study leader Dr. Camilla Clark, of the Dementia Research Centre at UCL, and colleagues recently published their findings in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

To reach their findings, the team asked the friends and relatives of 48 people with various forms of FTD or Alzheimer’s and 21 healthy individuals to complete a number of questionnaires about their loved one’s sense of humor.

The questionnaires asked friends and family to rate their loved one’s liking for different comedy styles, including slapstick comedy, satirical comedy and absurdist comedy.

The friends and relatives were also asked whether they had noticed any changes in their loved one’s sense of humor in the previous 15 years – long before they were diagnosed with dementia – and if they recalled any times that their humor was inappropriate.

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