Why Do Dementia Patients Stop Eating?

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Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Neuroscientist at the University Of Cambridge.

Eating problems in dementia

Eating problems, although not a direct symptom of dementia, are common in patients due to various reasons. First of all, there are numerous symptoms caused by the progressive loss of neurons which may cause the patient to stop eating.

Memory loss, a common symptom of dementia, may cause the patient to forget to eat or think they have eaten already.

In addition, depression, which affects about 40% of people with Alzehimer’s, can manifest as a poor appetite and causing the patient to stop eating.

As the disease is progressing, patients start to have motor control problems and have difficulties with swallowing and chewing. These motor control problems then lead to reduced food intake [1, 2, 3]. Eating problems in dementia may lead to weight loss.

Dementia refers to a group of diseases underpinned by a neuronal loss leading to a progressive cognitive decline in the affected individual. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, however there are other dementia types such as sporadic frontotemporal dementia and familial frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and vascular dementia.

Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Frederika is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she investigates new biomarkers for Frontotemporal Dementia and other tauopathies. Her research has been published at prestigious conferences such as the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023. She obtained her BSc in Biomedical Sciences from UCL, where she worked closely with the UK Dementia Research Institute.