Scientists at the University of New South Wales, which is right up there with Harvard and Oxford in terms of its renown as a research locus, have proposed that sarcasm may be useful in diagnosing certain types of dementia.
The researchers … say patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) or Pick’s disease, have trouble reading emotions and are often unable to sense when someone is being sarcastic.
Being unable to pick up when caregivers are angry, sad or depressed, can be upsetting for those involved and sometimes makes managing such patients a difficult task.
Even though FTD is the second most common form of dementia in younger people (i.e. under 65) it is often misdiagnosed as a personality disorder or sufferers are dismissed as strange, and often ostracised because FTD can lead to sexual disinhibition, rudeness and a lack of empathy.
Because we all know that only clinically demented people are overly horny or act like jerks.
The researchers devised a simple and non-invasive test where patients are merely asked: do you get the joke?
Yeah, that sounds conclusive, all right.