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Serious loss of pleasure associated with early-onset dementia

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image: Neuroimaging results show a decrease in gray matter intensity associated with anhedonia, lethargy, and depression. FTD anhedonia was associated with the degeneration of the area circled in green, the “pleasure hotspot” …
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Credit: University of Sydney

Key Point:

    -In contrast to Alzheimer’s disease, loss of pleasure has been identified as an important feature of early-onset dementia (FTD).

    -Scans showed deterioration of the gray matter of the so-called hedonic system of the brain.

    -These areas differed from those associated with depression or indifference-suggesting possible therapeutic targets.

People with early-onset dementia are often mistaken for depression, and an Australian study shows a serious loss of the ability to experience pleasure associated with the degeneration of “pleasure hotspots” in the brain (eg,). Good food and beautiful sunsets) were discovered. Where the pleasure mechanism is concentrated.

A study led by the University of Sydney revealed significant degeneration or atrophy of the frontotemporal and striatal regions of the brain associated with reduced reward search in patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

Researchers believe it is the first study to demonstrate severe anhedonia (a clinical definition of loss of ability to experience pleasure) in people with FTD.

Anhedonia is also common in people with depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and can be especially incapacitating for individuals.

In this study, patients with FTD (generally affecting people aged 40-65 years) were dramatic before onset, in contrast to patients with Alzheimer’s disease who did not show clinically significant anhedonia. Showed a decrease.

The results show the importance of considering anhedonia as the primary presentation function of FTD, and researchers have discovered neural drivers in areas other than lethargy and depression.

The findings were published today in major neuroscience journals. brain..

The lead author of the paper, Professor Muireann Irish of the Center for Brain and Mind at the University of Sydney and the Department of Psychology of the Faculty of Science, has the ability to experience the joy of people with FTD, despite increasing evidence of motivational disorders. He said no studies have been investigated so far.

“Most of the human experience is motivated by the desire to experience joy, but we often take this ability for granted.

“But think about what it would be like to lose the ability to enjoy the simple joys of life. This has a major impact on the well-being of those affected by these neurodegenerative diseases.

“Our findings also reflect the work of complex networks of regions in the brain and show potential treatments,” said a recently published professor in Ireland. paper To brain About FTD moral reasoning.

“Future research is essential to address the impact of anhedonia on daily activities and to inform the development of targeted interventions to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. “

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About research:

This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first study to demonstrate severe anhedonia in FTD, reflecting the loss of gray matter density in the frontotemporal and striatal regions of the brain. Interestingly, the group of participants with Alzheimer’s disease did not have anhedonia, suggesting that this condition is unique to FTD.

A total of 172 participants were hired, including 87 FTDs and 34 Alzheimer’s disease participants. Using brain imaging, researchers have discovered the loss of pleasure associated with degeneration in a set of individual regions of the so-called pleasure system of the brain.

Studies led by the University of Sydney include researchers from the ARC Center of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and the Black Dog Institute.

Declaration: The author has no competing interests to declare.

Disclaimer: AAAS and Eurek Alert! We are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! To use the information by contributing to the institution or through the Eurek Alert system.

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