Recent study out of University of Iowa showing that even if an individual with dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s, cannot remember what happened, the associated emotion (positive or negative) lingers. People with memory loss can still "remember" feelings associated with happy and sad experiences. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, have implications for Alzheimer’s disease patients, their families and caregivers.
University of Iowa researchers showed clips of happy and sad movies to five patients with memory loss. The patients couldn’t remember what they had watched, but they did retain the emotions triggered by the movie clips.
"A simple visit or phone call from family members might have a lingering positive influence on a patient’s happiness even though the patient may quickly forget the visit or phone call. On the other hand, routine neglect from staff at nursing homes may leave the patient feeling sad, frustrated and lonely even though the patient can’t remember why," lead author Justin Feinstein said in the news release.
"What this research suggests is that we need to start setting a scientifically informed standard of care for patients with memory disorders," Feinstein added. "Here is clear evidence showing that the reasons for treating Alzheimer’s patients with respect and dignity go beyond simple human morals."