Sarcasm can aid early diagnosis of dementia: study

December 12th, 2008 - 3:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Dec 12 (IANS) Patients of dementia have trouble reading emotions, little realising whether their care givers are angry, sad or depressed. Some are also not able to detect whether a person is being sarcastic, according to a new study.University of New South Wales (UNSW) researchers have found that an early diagnosis of the behavioural form of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) could be made if people’s response to sarcasm is monitored.

This will help manage the condition and may be particularly useful in determining which patients will deteriorate rapidly.

FTD is the second most common form of dementia in younger people, yet it is frequently misdiagnosed. It may also be much more common in those who are over 65 than is currently believed.

“People with FTD become very gullible and they often part with large amounts of money,” said John Hodges, the study’s co-author.

“This research goes towards explaining why dementia patients behave the way they do. They are not able to pick up the subtleties of communication,” he added.

Through video technology, the researchers also showed the patients performed poorly when reading negative emotions, said an UNSW release.

The paper has been published in the journal Brain.

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