Our Mission

* Educate healthcare professionals

* Establish a clinic for FTD sufferers

* Support research

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Comportment, Insight, and Reasoning

More information from NW University Website, with notes as they pretained to our family

Comportment, Insight, and Reasoning
Frontotemporal dementia affects the part of the brain that regulates comportment, insight and reasoning. "Comportment" is a term that refers to social behavior, insight, and "appropriateness" in different social contexts. Normal comportment involves having insight and the ability to recognize what behavior is appropriate in a particular social situation and to adapt one's behavior to the situation. For example, a funeral is a solemn event requiring certain types of behavior and decorum. Similarly, while it may be perfectly natural and acceptable to take one's shoes and socks off at home, it is probably not the thing to do while in a restaurant. [My mother wouldn't take Michael to a restaurant anylonger, because of his unusual behaviors; making sucking noises with his teeth, passing gas, and stuffing the food in his mouth as though he was starving. Same with my sister, she would shovel the food in her mouth as though there was no tomorrow and would grab things from other peoples plates.] Comportment also refers to the style and content of a person's language. Certain types of language are acceptable in some situations or with friends and family, and not acceptable in others.

Insight, an important aspect of comportment, has to do with the ability to "see" oneself as others do. Insight is necessary in order to determine whether one is behaving in a socially acceptable or in a reasonable manner. Insight is also necessary for the patient to recognize his/ her deficits and illness. Changes in comportment may be manifested as "personality" alterations. A generally active, involved person could become apathetic and disinterested. The opposite may also occur. A usually quiet individual may become more outgoing, boisterous and disinhibited. Personality changes can also involve increased irritability, anger and even verbal or physical outbursts toward others (usually the caregiver). Comportment is assessed by observing the patient's behavior throughout the examination and interviewing other people (family and friends) who have information about the patient's "characteristic" behavior.

Individuals with frontotemporal dementia frequently have executive function and reasoning deficits. "Reasoning" refers to mental activities that promote decision-making. Being able to categorize information and to move from one perspective of a problem to another are examples of reasoning. "Executive functions" is a term that refers to yet another group of mental activities that organize and plan the flow of behavior. A good example of executive functions is what might happen if one were driving a car, talking with the passenger and suddenly having to respond to a child running into traffic. The ability to handle all the stimulation and to quickly plan a course of action is accomplished via executive functions. Individuals with frontal lobe dementia often lack flexibility in thinking and are unable to carry a project through to completion. [Our doctors told us when the other doctors put Michael on Aricept for memory problems, it helped his executive functions abilities. He was able to plan his suicide. Without the Aricept, he would never of been able to plan his death.] Failure of executive functions may increase safety risk since they may not be able to plan appropriate actions or inhibit inappropriate actions.

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