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Appetite | Doctor's Diary

A colleague of mine refers to what he calls the 'hypothalamic' stage of dementia. The hypothalamus is situated at the base of the brain and helps coordinate appetite, the sleep-wake cycle, and regulation of weight. One sign that the hypothalamus is involved (often in the moderate or later stage) is when a person with Alzheimer's disease begins to stop eating (or even when they begin to lose weight, despite a good appetite and adequate intake). The fact that even people whose cognitive function (thinking, memory ) improves with drug treatment have problems with appetite and weight control has helped convince me that treatment works (although it does not cure). In some, I see problems with appetite and weight loss emerge a few years after treatment with a cholinesterase inhibitor, even though they only show signs of mild dementia. It seems that the drug holds them at their current level of cognition and function, while 'underneath' the disease progresses.

See Also:
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Weight Loss
Symptom Library > Everyday Activities > Eating
Symptom Library > Physical Changes > Sensory Input
Symptom Library > Everyday Activities > Meal Preparation/Cooking
Symptom Library > Memory & Language > Memory of Recent Events
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Memory
About Dementia > Treatments for Dementia > Exercise
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Last updated January 15, 2019
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