Before the onset of Alzheimer’s, patients tend to eat more—about 500 calories more per day—than their aging counterparts. And still, they tend to lose weight. “We can only guess that the change is metabolic,” Dr. Perry says.
Some people actually eat inanimate objects prior to their diagnosis, though researchers don’t know why. But since Alzheimer’s and dementia affect the brain’s memory, it may be because their brain receives hunger signals, but can’t discern how to react to them. Some patients have been reported to eat paper or other inedible objects.
Inability to Recognize Sarcasm
“That was a sarcastic remark.” We say this regularly because we can tell when someone is using the wise-guy device of sarcasm. But if you fail to recognize it, or take it very literally and seriously, it may be a sign of atrophy in your brain. (We all miss it from time to time, of course, but if you consistently “don’t get it,” it could be a problem.)
by Katherine Rankin, Ph.D., of the University of California/San Francisco found that Alzheimer’s patients and those with Frontotemporal Disease were among those who could not recognize sarcasm in face-to-face encounters. In such diseases, Dr. Perry says, the brain’s posterior hippocampus is affected, which is where short-term memory is stored, and where one would sort out such things as sarcasm.
If someone has never suffered from clinical depression in the course of their lives but develops it later in life (after age 50), it could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s.
This does not mean if you’re diagnosed with depression in older age that you will develop Alzheimer’s or other cognitive decline, but it does raise the possibility that you might. Onestudy
showed that people who suffered from depression after age 50 were three times more likely to develop an Alzheimer's-related disease, Vascular Dementia, than those that did not.
If you are depressed, get treatment sooner rather than later because some researchers speculate that hormones released in the depressed brain may damage certain areas of it, leading to the development of Alzheimer’s or other dementia.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a change in cognitive and executive functioning in the brain—meaning your ability to recall facts, memories, and information is compromised, as is your ability to make decisions. Essentially, your brain becomes unfocused, Dr. Perry says. So staring in a detached way may be an early sign of so-called “tangles” in your brain.
These symptoms may signal Alzheimer’s Disease, but they may be the signs of other underlying conditions. Dr. Perry says a trained neurologist can easily diagnose Alzheimer’s or other dementias. See your doctor if you have worrying signs so that you can begin treatment. It may turn out that these symptoms of a sign of something else. But sharing them with a physician is the best thing you can do.
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