Skip to main content Accessibility help

The effect of a lollipop on vocally disruptive behavior in a patient with frontotemporal dementia: a case-study

  • W. F. Fick (a1), J. P. van der Borgh (a1), S. Jansen (a1) and R. T. C. M. Koopmans (a1) (a2)

A problematic and disturbing behavior which can develop in people with dementia, is vocally disruptive behavior (VDB). To date, the study of VDB is underdeveloped and with only a limited knowledge base. Medications commonly used in VDB have limited benefits and specific risks in patients with dementia. This report details the case of a patient with frontotemporal dementia with VDB, which responded very well by providing a lollipop. Subsequently, we pose theory-based hypotheses in order to try to explain the beneficial effect of this intervention. This may contribute to a better understanding of VDB and possible treatment strategies.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. W. F. Fick, Eldery Care Physician, De Waalboog “Joachim en Anna”, Centre for Specialized Geriatric Care, Groesbeekseweg 327, 6523 PA Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Phone: +31 243228264; Fax: +31 24 3230076. Email:
Hide All
Allali, G., Kressig, R. W., Assal, F., Herrmann, F. R., Dubost, V. and Beauchet, O. (2007). Changes in gait while backward counting in demented older adults with frontal lobe dysfunction. Gait Posture, 26, 572576. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2006.12.011.
Cariaga, J., Burgio, L., Flynn, W. and Martin, D. (1991). A controlled study of disruptive vocalizations among geriatric residents in nursing homes. Journal of American Geriatric Society, 39, 501507.
Cohen-Mansfield, J. and Werner, P. (1997). Typology of disruptive vocalizations in older persons suffering from dementia. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 12, 10791091.
Cohen-Mansfield, J., Werner, P., Hammerschmidt, K. and Newman, J. D. (2003). Acoustic properties of vocally disruptive behaviors in the nursing home. Gerontology, 49, 161167. doi:10.1159/000069173 69173 [pii].
Cohen-Mansfield, J., Libin, A. and Marx, M. S. (2007). Nonpharmacological treatment of agitation: a controlled trial of systematic individualized intervention. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Science and Medical Sciences, 62, 908916.
Draper, B. et al. (2000). Case-controlled study of nursing home residents referred for treatment of vocally disruptive behavior. International Psychogeriatrics, 12, 333344.
Dubois, B., Slachevsky, A., Litvan, I. and Pillon, B. (2000). The FAB: a Frontal Assessment Battery at bedside. Neurology, 55, 16211626.
Ikeda, M., Brown, J., Holland, A. J., Fukuhara, R. and Hodges, J. R. (2002). Changes in appetite, food preference, and eating habits in frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 73, 371376.
Lai, C. K. Y. (1999). Vocally disruptive behaviors in people with cognitive impaitment: current knowledge and future research directions. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, 14, 172180. doi: 10.1177/153331759901400304.
Matteau, E., Landreville, P., Laplante, L. and Laplante, C. (2003). Disruptive vocalizations: a means to communicate in dementia? American Journal of Alzheimers Disease and Other Dementias, 18, 147153.
Mcminn, B. and Draper, B. (2005). Vocally disruptive behaviour in dementia: development of an evidence based practice guideline. Aging and Mental Health, 9, 1624.
Miller, B. L., Darby, A. L., Swartz, J. R., Yener, G. G. and Mena, I. (1995). Dietary changes, compulsions and sexual behavior in frontotemporal degeneration. Dementia, 6, 195199.
Nagaratnam, N., Patel, I. and Whelan, C. (2003). Screaming, shrieking and muttering: the noise-makers amongst dementia patients. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 36, 247258.
Neary, D. et al. (1998). Frontotemporal lobar degeneration: a consensus on clinical diagnostic criteria. Neurology, 51, 15461554.
Okamoto, M., Dan, H., Clowney, L., Yamaguchi, Y. and Dan, I. (2009). Activation in ventro-lateral prefrontal cortex during the act of tasting: an fNIRS study. Neuroscience Letters, 451, 129133. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2008.12.016.
Rascovsky, K. et al. (2011). Sensitivity of revised diagnostic criteria for the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia. Brain, 134, 2456–77. doi: 10.1093/brain/awr179.
Von Gunten, A., Alnawaqil, A. M., Abderhalden, C., Needham, I. and Schupbach, B. (2008). Vocally disruptive behavior in the elderly: a systematic review. International Psychogeriatrics, 20, 653672. doi:10.1017/S1041610208006728.
Walther, S., Goya-Maldonado, R., Stippich, C., Weisbrod, M. and Kaiser, S. (2010). A supramodal network for response inhibition. Neuroreport, 21, 191195. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e328335640f.
Whall, A. L., Gillis, G. L., Yankou, D., Booth, D. E. and Beel-Bates, C. A. (1992). Disruptive behavior in elderly nursing home residents: a survey of nursing staff. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 18, 1317.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
  • URL: /core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed