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Dementia May Bring Out Patients’ Hidden Talents

| February 2, 2015 Comment

Dementia May Bring Out Patients’ Hidden Talents – The case of a Korean dementia patient shows that the condition may bring out any latent talent for music and art when given the opportunity.

The Korean patient, known as JK suffered from a type of dementia known as frontotemporal dementia (FTD) caused by progressive degeneration of brain cells in the frontal lobes (the areas behind your forehead) or its temporal lobes (the regions behind your ears), leading to shrinking of brain tissue. FTD dementia affects people at a younger age, and instead of causing short-term memory loss, it causes changes in behavior and personality, such as inappropriate social behavior, lack of inhibition, and speech problems.

In the case of patient JK, his wife encouraged him to learn to play the saxophone thinking that music might alleviate some of his aggressive and impulsive behavior. And though it took him a while to learn, he ended up outperforming some of the healthy students in the class. JK was diagnosed at the age of 59 and by the age of 61, his anxiety and aggressiveness were less severe than when diagnosed.

According to Dr. Potts, a dementia specialist in Alabama and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, giving dementia patients an opportunity to explore their artistic talents might prove to be therapeutic by giving them an outlet to express their feelings in an appropriate way – an ability they lose because of the disease.


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