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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Not Of This World

    Sarcasm finds medical use in dementia detection

    SYDNEY (AFP) Sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit, but Australian scientists are using it to diagnose dementia, according to research published on Friday.

    Researchers at the University of New South Wales found that patients under the age of 65 suffering from frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the second most common form of dementia, cannot detect when someone is being sarcastic.

    The study, described by its authors as groundbreaking, helps explain why patients with the condition behave the way they do and why, for example, they are unable to pick up their caregivers' moods, the research showed.

    "This is significant because if care-givers are angry, sad or depressed, the patient won't pick this up. It is often very upsetting for family members," said John Hodges, the senior author of the paper published in "Brain".

    "(FTD) patients present changes in personality and behaviour. They find it difficult to interact with people, they don't pick up on social cues, they lack empathy, they make bad judgements," he told AFP.

    "People with FTD become very gullible and they often part with large amounts of money," he said, adding that one in 4,000 people around the world are afflicted with the condition.

    While in one scenario, the actors would deliver the lines sincerely, in others they would introduce a thick layer of sarcasm. Patients were then asked if they got the joke, Hodges said.

    For example, said Hodges, if a couple were discussing a weekend away and the wife suggested bringing her mother, the husband might say: "Well, that's great, you know how much I like your mother, that will really make it a great weekend."

    When the same words were delivered sarcastically and then in a neutral tone, the joke was lost on FTD patients, while the Alzheimer's patients got it.

    "The patients with FTD are very literal and they take what is being said as genuine and sincere," said Hodges.

    Much more at link:


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    10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord. (KJV)

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Wow, that's really interesting. I work in an area where many people have dementia and I have never known this (Don't worry, I'm not a nurse or doctor or any other kind of healthcare practitioner). It bothers me how many people end up with dementia. It's really sad.
    Love never fails.

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