We have all heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine.” But according to new research, a noticeable change in what makes us laugh may not be a good sign for cognitive health: it may be an early indicator for dementia.

Researchers from University College London (UCL) in the UK found that people whose sense of humor became darker with age were more likely to have behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) — a form of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) characterized by changes in behavior — and that this change in humor began years before disease onset.

FTD is the most common form of dementia among people in their 50s. Unlike with Alzheimer’s disease, memory problems are not a highly prominent symptom of the condition.

 

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