An increasingly twisted sense of humour could be one of the early signs of dementia, a new study has found, including laughing at inappropriate moments.
The University College London research, published in the Journal of Alzeheimer’s disease, questioned the families and friends of 48 dementia patients, who had known them for more than 15 years before their disease took hold. Many of them noted that their relatives’ sense of humour had changed.
The study found patients laughed at “frankly inappropriate” moments, including watching news reports about natural disasters, or seeing a car parked badly. One recalled a relative laughing after a loved one badly scalded herself.
Dementia patients were likely to find satirical or absurdist comedy less funny than slapstick, such as Mr Bean, the study found. After the patients were diagnosed, respondents said that they noticed “a shift in patients’ comedy preferences toward the fatuous and farcical”.
All patient groups liked satirical and absurdist comedy significantly less than healthy patients, the study found.
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