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Inability to Detect Sarcasm Might Suggest Dementia

Why do the elderly seem to fall prey disproportionately to telemarketing or online scams? Researchers at the University of California have found a correlation between patients who have specific types of brain deterioration in elderly patients and an inability to detect sarcasm or lies.

The finding could be a low-tech way to diagnose early stages of certain types of dementia . Scientists found that older people with frontotemporal dementia fared poorly in tests measuring gullibility.

"If somebody has strange behavior and they stop understanding things such as sarcasm and lies, they should see a specialist who can make sure this is not the start of one of these diseases," says senior author of the study, neuropsychologist Katherine Rankin.

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