Australian researchers make the link between squalor and brain damage

Living in a filthy property has been presented as a ‘lifestyle choice’, but researchers have now come to a new conclusion that has huge implications for how cases should be treated, writes Aisha Dow.

It is said the dog was a much-loved family pet. That is, before it decomposed on the living room floor.

It died one day after lying down at the foot of the sofa. And there it stayed, slowly rotting into the carpet until all that was left was large, perfectly-formed skeleton and a muddy brown stain.

When the dog was eventually discovered, it was almost by accident.

Its owner, a 79-year-old Melbourne woman, had been admitted to hospital and a social worker and occupational therapist decided to visit her home in preparation for her discharge.

They found rooms buried in rubbish-filled plastic bags. Orange cigarette butts littered the ground like confetti.