Dementia Patients Often Can't Detect Sarcasm

New tests could help with diagnoses
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2008 1:16 PM CST
"People with FTD become very gullible and they often part with large amounts of money," said one researcher, adding that one in 4,000 people worldwide suffer from the condition.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – People suffering from dementia often can't pick up on sarcasm, a finding that could help with diagnoses and in improving patients' relations with caregivers, AFP reports. Australian researchers say patients under age 65 suffering from frontotemporal dementia, the second most common form of the disorder, were unable to detect sarcastic statements. "This is significant because if caregivers are angry, sad, or depressed, the patient won’t pick this up,” said the study’s lead researcher.

“They find it difficult to interact with people,” he said. "They don't pick up on social cues, they lack empathy, they make bad judgements.” One in 4,000 people worldwide suffers from the condition, which is often misdiagnosed as depression. The sarcasm test could replace others that are more expensive and less available and be modified for less sarcasm-happy countries.