Drastic Change Of Personality May Indicate Early Stage Of Dementia, Doctors Say

By Beatrice Walters, Parent Herald July 26, 06:51 am
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A noticeable personality change may be a cause of worry, according to a new study. If a person's personality has taken a turn for the worse---becoming overly unrealistic, irritable, aggressive or lifeless over the course of a couple of months---then it may be signs of an early stage of dementia.

A research group proposed at the Alzheimer's Association of International Conference held in Toronto a new diagnosis that will look at mood and behavioral changes in determining a person's risk to develop dementia. They also prepared a 38-question checklist that would be indicative of a person's dementia risk depending on his/her answers.

According to The New York Times, the diagnosis would be called mild behavioral impairment (M.B.I) that would be done before mild cognitive impairment (M.C.I.). According to Dr. Zahinoor Ismail, member of the research group, mood and behavioral changes are "stealth symptoms" and part of why dementia patients suffer.

Nonetheless, people are reminded to be cautious and not wary of all mood swings. In terms of quantity, the changes should have been experienced for at least six months and; in terms of quality, the behavioral changes should be fundamental.

However, the danger of the proposal is overdiagnosis. If people are wrongly diagnosed, people become more worried of their situation and would waste lots of money for diagnosis and treatment (via The New York Times).

As per Alzheimer's Association, symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, a common form of dementia, include mood and personality changes. The patients suffering from dementia can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious.

Lewy Body Dementia Association says that a patient suffering from dementia could not express themselves verbally and do so through their behavior. A caretaker should determine the reason for the behavior before he/she can respond to it. The association recommends to back away if the patient becomes aggressive and to remember to respond to the emotion, not the behavior.

According to Institute for Dementia Research & Prevention, there are about five million Americans suffering from dementia. It said that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 10 men who live over the age of 55 might develop dementia in the future.

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