Health News: Shift in Sense of Humor Linked to Development of Dementia

A new study has identified the link between the shift in preferences for humor or comedy and the different kinds of dementia.

According to researchers, patients with dementia are more likely to laugh at slapstick comedy and even inappropriate situations than other forms of humor, BBC has learned.

For the study, researchers surveyed the friends and family of 48 individuals with dementia. Majority of the respondents noted that their friends and relatives with dementia displayed changes in their sense of humor as their conditions worsened.

Based on the researchers' findings, those with dementia prefer slapstick comedy, like the one featured in "Mr. Bean." However, they do not appreciate satirical humor or absurdist comedy as much as healthy do.

In addition, the respondents noted that after the patients were diagnosed with dementia, their sense of humor became darker. They reported instances of laughing during inappropriate times such as a funeral or while watching a tragic news story.

"Early on, [they] laughed very loudly at things that were only mildly funny, flippant or over the top, now [they] laugh all the time at things that are not particularly funny and will say 'I'm laughing and I'm not sure why I'm laughing," one of the survey participants wrote according to The Guardian.

"When I badly scalded myself the other year, [they] thought it was hilarious," the respondent added.

According to the researchers, the study can be used to detect early signs of dementia. Since humor is triggered by different sets of cognitive functions, its changes, even subtle one, could suggest the onset of mental and behavioral diseases.

"As sense of humor defines us and is used to build relationships with those around us, changes in what we find funny has impacts far beyond picking a new favorite TV show," lead author Camilla Clark of the University College of London said in a press release according to UPI.

"Subtle difference in what we find funny could help between the different diseases that cause dementia," she added. "Humor could be a particularly sensitive way of detecting dementia because it puts demands on so many different aspects of brain function, such as puzzle solving and social awareness."

The researchers noted that further studies are needed to be conducted on this subject to come up with a better understanding of dementia various effects on people.

The findings of the researchers were detailed in a study published on November 10 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Tags Dementia, Humor, Study, health

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