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Can’t You Take A Joke?

You look nice.  Do you have a date?”

“That’s right Mom, I never call you.”

“Well that makes a lot of sense.”

Here is some interesting news.  Researchers at The University of California in San Francisco have determined which areas of the brain can distinguish between the truth and lies or sarcasm.  This was done through brain mapping during an MRI of both healthy subjects and those with neurodegenerative diseases.  Correlations were found between the parts of the brain showing degeneration and the subjects who could not detect insincere speech.

This could be a helpful clue in catching a neurodegenerative disease early.  If someone you know is demonstrating odd behavior and/or cannot detect a lie or sarcasm, there may be something going on much deeper.

This is also important to keep in mind in folks who may be more gullible and are vulnerable to predatory scammers or crooks.  If someone’s sense of humor seems diminished, or if they seem “clueless” in detecting humor, be on guard for misguided trust and a risk of being deceived.

Findings were just presented on April 14, 2011 at 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Hawaii.

According to Jason Bardi at UCSF,

The ability to detect lies resides in the brain’s frontal lobe. In diseases like frontotemporal dementia, this is one of the areas that progressively degenerates because of the accumulation of damaged proteins known as tau and the death of neurons in those areas.

Because the frontal lobes play a significant role in complex, higher-order human behaviors, losing the ability to detect lies is only one of several ways the disease may manifest. The first signs of the disease may be any number of severe behavioral changes. People sometimes behave in socially inappropriate ways or undergoing fundamental shifts in outlook — switching political affiliations or changing religions, for instance.

Researchers hope to find other ways to detect early warning signs of neurogenerative diseases and, eventually, develop medications to slow or prevent this process.

Read the entire article here:

Inability to Detect Sarcasm, Lies May Be Early Sign of Dementia, UCSF Study Shows

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