Dementia is known for robbing its victims’ cognitive capabilities. Some forms cause the patients a lack of happiness that has been associated with depression for a long time. A recent study, however, suggests that this might not be the case.
Reward seeking behavior
The study published in the Brain journal revealed that some early forms of Dementia are closely linked to displeasure in hedonic spots that control reward-seeking tendency.
EurekeAlert reported that the Australian study found a lack of pleasure in early on-set Dementia patients. The researchers also said that it is related to degeneration in striatal and frontal areas of the brain, which are associated with a diminished reward-seeking tendency in FTD patients.
They also observed that this was the first comprehensive study on anhedonia, the clinical term for lack of pleasure.
Lack of pleasure is a common symptom in many mental health conditions, including depression and OCD. Anhedonia patients do not experience pleasure and satisfaction after achieving a goal or being with a loved one unlike healthy people.
Since the condition is mainly mistaken for depression, the University of Sydney researchers set off to determine how it is associated with some forms of Dementia. Muireann Irish, a neuroscientist in the same university, said that most human experiences are controlled by the drive to experience a pleasure. It is, therefore, the inability of a human to seek and enjoy these pleasures that suggest that they are suffering from a neurodegenerative disorder.
The research involved 121 participants, 87 of who had one of three forms of FTD, early on-set Dementia. They were aged between 40 and 65.
The first form of FTD wrecks the frontal lobe that influences the personality and emotional responses of the victim. On the other hand, the second form messes with the temporal lobe, which controls reading and comprehension. The third form appears as a type of aphasia, wherein patients have a reduced verbal communication ability.
FTD and Alzheimer’s
While comparing the results to a similar study involving Alzheimer’s Disease, they realized that patients with the first form of FTD are more likely to suffer from anhedonia. This means that patients with the first variant are more likely to feel less joy than those with the third variant or Alzheimer’s Disease.