Craving certain foods could be a sign of frontotemporal dementia, study suggests

Frontotemporal dementia symptoms include 'changes in personality'

Dementia doesn’t describe just one specific disease but a collection of conditions characterised by the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with doing everyday tasks.

While Alzheimer’s disease is the best-known type of the mind-robbing disease, there are also other brain conditions like frontotemporal dementia. 

This type triggers problems with behaviour and language but it may also alter your food preferences.

Whether it’s an indulgent chocolate bar or greasy chips, everyone gets food cravings from time to time.

However, changes in eating behaviours and food preferences could be a sign of frontotemporal dementia.

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According to the Alzheimer’s Society, people with the condition may “crave sweet, fatty foods, or carbohydrates and forget their table manners”.

The charity adds: “They may also no longer know when to stop eating, drinking alcohol, or smoking.”

The charity isn’t the only one to highlight this behaviour as a study, published in JAMA Neurology, has also identified two food behaviours that are linked to the mind-robbing condition.

The research team explained that the presence of eating abnormalities is one of the core criteria for the diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia.

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The study included seventy-five participants with dementia, with 47 of them having frontotemporal dementia while the rest suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. 

All participants had to complete surveys, focusing on hunger and satiety, while information on body mass index and weight measurements were prospectively collected.

Comparing patterns of eating behaviour in patients with these two dementia types, the researchers noticed that those with frontotemporal dementia had “significant” abnormalities in appetite, eating habits, as well as food preferences.

Patients with this dementia type ate “significantly” more carbohydrates and sugar.

While your new food preferences could hold clues, frontotemporal dementia also triggers a variety of other symptoms worth knowing.

According to the NHS, the key signs can include:

  • Personality and behaviour changes – acting inappropriately or impulsively, appearing selfish or unsympathetic, neglecting personal hygiene, overeating, or loss of motivation
  • Language problems – speaking slowly, struggling to make the right sounds when saying a word, getting words in the wrong order, or using words incorrectly
  • Problems with mental abilities – getting distracted easily, struggling with planning and organisation
  • Memory problems – these only tend to occur later on, unlike more common forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The health service recommends seeing a GP if you think you have symptoms of the brain condition.

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