Change in Humor May Be Early Sign of Dementia
Laughing at inappropriate times or developing a distasteful sense of humor may be a sign of impending dementia, according to a new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
Researchers at University College London recruited 48 people from a dementia clinic and asked their friends or relatives to rate the patients' preferences for various types of comedy, such as slapstick, satirical, or absurdist – as well as inappropriate.
Almost all of those questioned said they noticed a change in humor in the nine years before their loved one was diagnosed with dementia. Many dementia patients developed a dark sense of humor, laughing at sad events and often saying things that others found distasteful.
While fading memory is generally seen as a defining symptom of dementia, being aware of other early signs, such as a change in sense of humor may help people with dementia take the steps to slow down the disease.
Experts say more studies are needed to understand how and when changes in humor could act as a red flag for dementia.