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Dementia and eating disorders: it's a problem of (semantic) memory

17 October 2019
A new study has just been published in the Journal of Neuropsychology

For the first time it has been shown that deficits of semantic memory, an ability we use to recognise objects and use them correctly, are involved in specific eating disorders shared by patients suffering from dementia. This is suggested by a study conducted by the Laboratory of Professor Raffaella Rumiati of SISSA in Trieste just published in the Journal of Neuropsychology.

Eating disorders shown by patients with dementia are characterised by a vast range of behaviours that span from preference for sugary foods, binges, increase in appetite, to changes in table manners or in food preferences, for instance the abrupt change to an extremely selective diet in terms of food choices, resulting in an unbalanced nutrition pattern. This new study confirms the hypothesis that sudden changes in preferences and habits, depend, at least in part, on degeneration of semantic memory, opening up interesting perspectives in the field of research and to develop effective strategies to contrast these behaviors in patients.