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False Memories: The Other Side of Forgetting

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2020

Katherine W. Turk*
Affiliation:
Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA02130, USA Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA02118, USA
Rocco Palumbo
Affiliation:
Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA02130, USA Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA02118, USA
Rebecca G. Deason
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX78666, USA
Anna Marin
Affiliation:
Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA02130, USA Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA02118, USA
Ala’a Elshaar
Affiliation:
Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA02130, USA Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA02118, USA
Emma Gosselin
Affiliation:
Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA02130, USA Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA02118, USA Psychology Department, William James College, 1 Wells Avenue, Newton, MA02459, USA
Maureen K. O’Connor
Affiliation:
Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA02130, USA Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA02118, USA Neuropsychology Department, Edith Norse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, 200 Springs Road, Bedford, MA01730, USA
Yorghos Tripodis
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Public Health, and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA02118, USA
Andrew E. Budson
Affiliation:
Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA02130, USA Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA02118, USA
*
*Correspondence and reprint requests to: K. Turk, VA Boston Healthcare System, 150 S. Huntington Ave., Jamaica Plain, MA02130, USA. Email: kturk@bu.edu

Abstract

Objective:

To measure caregivers’ and clinicians’ perception of false memories in the lives of patients with memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) using a novel false memories questionnaire. Our hypotheses were that false memories are occurring as often as forgetting according to clinicians and family members.

Method:

This prospective, questionnaire-based study consisting of 20 false memory questions paired with 20 forgetting questions had two forms: one for clinicians and the other for family members of older subjects. In total, 226 clinicians and 150 family members of 49 patients with AD, 44 patients with MCI, and 57 healthy older controls (OCs) completed the questionnaire.

Results:

False memories occurred nearly as often as forgetting according to clinicians and family members of patients with MCI and AD. Family members of OCs and patients with MCI reported fewer false memories compared to those of the AD group. As Mini-Mental State Examination scores decreased, the mean score increased for both forgetting and false memories. Among clinicians, correlations were observed between the dementia severity of patients seen with both forgetting and false memories questionnaire scores as well as with the impact of forgetting and false memories on daily life.

Conclusion:

Patients with AD experience false memories almost as frequently as they do forgetting. Given how common false memories are in AD patients, additional work is needed to understand the clinical implications of these false memories on patients’ daily lives. The novel false memories questionnaire developed may be a valuable tool.

Type
Regular Research
Creative Commons
Creative Common License - CCCreative Common License - BY
This is a work of the U.S. Government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States.
Copyright
Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2020

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