University of New South Wales
"Beauty and the brain" - A novel approach to anhedonia in dementia
Alzheimer's Australia Dementia Research Foundation
Try to imagine a world in which you could no longer experience beauty or pleasure in your daily life. Anhedonia refers to a loss of pleasure and has typically been studied in psychiatric disorders. Many of the diagnostic features of frontotemporal dementia, however, suggest the presence of anhedonia, such as social withdrawal, loss of interest in previous hobbies and activities, and apathy. The implications of anhedonia are stark, yet no study to our knowledge has systematically investigated anhedonia in younger-onset dementia. We will measure the experience of pleasure in response to viewing pieces of art and listening to music. Neuroimaging analyses will allow us to determine the association between damage to the brain in dementia and anhedonia. Our study will provide critical data regarding the subjective experience of the individual living with dementia and the utility of music and art to improve overall wellbeing and quality of life.