Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Effects Of Disease Severity On Autobiographical Memory In Semantic Dementia Revealed In New Study

Date:
April 12, 2009
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Researchers studied for the first time autobiographical memory in a group of semantic dementia (SD) patients according to disease progression. They highlighted that at early stages of the disease those patients could recall recent memories, but also lasting memories from their youth which tend to disappear as dementia evolves.

In a study conducted by the Laboratory of Neuropsychology of the Universitι de Caen Basse-Normandie and published by Elsevier in the April 2009 issue of Cortex, researchers studied for the first time autobiographical memory in a group of semantic dementia (SD) patients according to disease progression.

They highlighted that at early stages of the disease those patients could recall recent memories, but also lasting memories from their youth which tend to disappear as dementia evolves. Mechanisms at the root of this autobiographical memory impairment result from storage deficits combined with faulty retrieval strategies.

Semantic dementia is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by a semantic memory breakdown; this type of memory concerns meanings and understandings about the world, e.g. “Paris is the capital of France” as well as personal semantics. Despite their important semantic deficits, these patients show preserved abilities concerning daily living activities and can recall recent specific personal events, with episodic details, at least at the beginning of the disease. This observation is interesting because it suggests that episodic autobiographical memory referring to both recent and old memories, particular to each individual at the source of personal continuity over time, is preserved in early SD.

Two groups of 7 patients each were studied. One group consisted of SD patients with mild cognitive impairment and the other consisted of patients with moderate cognitive impairment. An autobiographical memory test, called the TEMPau task, was used which assessed general and specific memories across the entire lifetime. Results indicated for the mild subgroup, preserved performances for the most recent time period and a relative preservation of a reminiscence bump, which concerns the surge of vivid and important self-defining episodic memories acquired between 18 and 30 years. In the moderate subgroup, performances were impaired whatever the time period including the most recent one. These results highlight that, with disease severity, episodic memories tend to vanish regardless of their recency.

The implications of these findings are particularly interesting from both theoretical and clinical viewpoints. First, they confirm that the relative preservation of episodic memories in early SD is not just a matter of recency, as frequently proposed. Second, they should provide new avenues on the development of specific methods of rehabilitation of new and old semantic concepts based on episodic autobiographical memory from the last 12 months and the reminiscence bump.

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Effects Of Disease Severity On Autobiographical Memory In Semantic Dementia Revealed In New Study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090402092853.htm>.
Elsevier. (2009, April 12). Effects Of Disease Severity On Autobiographical Memory In Semantic Dementia Revealed In New Study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090402092853.htm
Elsevier. "Effects Of Disease Severity On Autobiographical Memory In Semantic Dementia Revealed In New Study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090402092853.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins