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Tags: dementia | frontotemporal dementia | ftd | eating | food | personality | behavior

Eating Habits That Are an Early Sign of Dementia

older woman eating bananas
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Wednesday, 21 February 2024 11:40 AM EST

Early signs of dementia include forgetfulness and language problems, but now science reveals that what and how you eat can signal a condition called frontotemporal dementia (FTD). This subtype of dementia affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which are responsible for personality, behavior, language, and speech.

According to HuffPost, this condition affects one in 20 dementia patients. One of its early warning signs includes obsessive or repetitive behavior that can extend to food. “Frontotemporal dementia is associated with a wide variety of abnormal eating behaviors such as hyperphagia, fixations on one kind of food, even ingestion of inanimate objects,” according to research by the International School of Advanced Studies.

Those with this condition may refuse to eat anything other than one food. For example, one woman profiled in the research was nicknamed the “Banana lady” because she ate noting but bananas and milk for months before her death. People with FTD may also steal food from other’s plates. This may cause problems such as weight loss or weight gain, depending on the food patients become fixated upon.

“The origin of food anomalies in frontotemporal dementia is likely due to many factors,” said researcher Marilena Aiello. “It may involve an alteration in the autonomic nervous system, characterized by an altered assessment of the body’s signals, such as hunger, satiety, and appetite. Damage to the hypothalamus can cause a loss of inhibitory signals, causing behaviors such as overeating.” 

Aiello adds that there are probably sensory and cognitive factors that complicate the picture.

“In patients who eat objects, for example, there is perhaps a semantic problem of recognizing the object and its function,” she said. “All of these mechanisms are interesting for understanding the disease and creating optimal treatment to counteract symptoms. As the same time, they reveal abnormalities that may be present, albeit with varied intensities, in healthy individuals with irregular eating habits.”

© 2024 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.


Health-News
Early signs of dementia include forgetfulness and language problems, but now science reveals that what and how you eat can signal a condition called frontotemporal dementia (FTD). This subtype of dementia affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which are...
dementia, frontotemporal dementia, ftd, eating, food, personality, behavior
316
2024-40-21
Wednesday, 21 February 2024 11:40 AM
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