Dementia: How much do you eat at the buffet? Your answer could indicate that you have dementia

Every year, dementia kills 67,000 people. To put that figure into context, the London Olympic Stadium in east London has a capacity of around 60,000. There would be 7,000 left standing. Such is the size of the patient cohort, which is expected to grow, scientists are scrambling to develop new treatments and potentially a cure.

However, they did not always work at such a pace; dementia was perceived differently.

Rather than a disease that could be treated and cured, dementia was once seen as an inevitability of aging.

Subsequent developments in science have shown this to be wrong.

Today, scientific advances have also shed light on how to spot the early symptoms of dementia.

READ MORE: Peter Kay: The comic’s ‘first-hand experience’ of a ‘complex’ disease

Some of these symptoms can be spotted in the most innocuous places, such as on vacation.

When you stay in a hotel, whether in the UK or elsewhere, sometimes there is a nondescript breakfast buffet.

The way a person acts at this buffet can tell if they are suffering from some form of dementia.

Research suggests that overeating could be a symptom of FTD (frontotemporal dementia).


Dr. Josh Woolley of the UCSF Memory and Aging Clinic wrote about the link between FTD and diet: “FTD is a disease in which parts of the brain atrophy and lead to overeating compulsive.

“Hopefully we could learn something about the brain circuits involved and why people overeat in general.”

In a study conducted by UCSF, they found that patients with FTD were more likely to overeat than those without.

Dr Woolley explained: “You are not full because your stomach is physically full. You are full because your brain is telling you not to eat anymore.

Although this may be concerning for people who walk at a slower pace, it does not mean that they are guaranteed to develop the disease.

Other risk factors such as age, isolation, diet and family history of dementia have a much greater impact.

In the UK, data suggests that one in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime.

As a result, campaigners are encouraging the government to move forward with a dementia strategy.

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