Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s are neurodegenerative diseases that sometimes wreck the brain structures required for sound judgment and self-awareness. Because of this, law-abiding citizens who develop these disorders may stray into the danger zone, a new study finds. While no one would describe them as leading a life of crime exactly, patients may begin to behave as common criminals, stealing, trespassing, and urinating in public as they wish.
For the current study, a team of researchers led by Dr. Madeleine Liljegren of Lund University and Dr. Georges Naasan of UC San Francisco investigated the frequency and type of criminal behavior among patients diagnosed with some kind of dementia disorder.
In particular, they reviewed and examined the medical records of 2,397 patients who were seen at UC San Francisco’s Memory and Aging Center between 1999 and 2012. Of these patients, 545 had Alzheimer’s, 171 had frontotemporal dementia (causing personality changes), 89 had a variation of primary progressive aphasia (causing language declines), and 30 had Huntington’s.
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