/ 14 April 2021

Sad face linked to type of dementia

Can people living with different types of dementia experience pleasure the same way they did before? A new study published yesterday seeks to answer that. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is where parts of the brain behind the forehead and temples become progressively damaged. It leads to noticeable changes a person’s mood, social behaviour and judgement, and it also tends to affect people at a younger age. Using imaging technology, researchers found the pleasure system in FTD patients’ brains had deteriorated. “It’s not simply that your loved one is acting deliberately defiant, or they don’t want to join you for dinner,” said Sydney Uni’s Professor Muireann Irish, who has spent 7 years on the project. “It’s more that the circuits in the brain that allow them to anticipate and respond positively to those experiences are not working properly.” Researchers say the loss of happiness could be a “very early indicator” of FTD.

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