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Amnestic people with Alzheimer's disease who remembered the Kobe earthquake

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 January 2018

Manabu Ikeda*
Affiliation:
Hyogo Institute for Aging Brain and Cognitive Disorders
Etsuro Mori
Affiliation:
Hyogo Institute for Aging Brain and Cognitive Disorders
Nobutsugu Hirono
Affiliation:
Hyogo Institute for Aging Brain and Cognitive Disorders
Toru Imamura
Affiliation:
Hyogo Institute for Aging Brain and Cognitive Disorders
Tatsuo Shimomura
Affiliation:
Hyogo Institute for Aging Brain and Cognitive Disorders
Yoshitaka Ikejiri
Affiliation:
Hyogo Institute for Aging Brain and Cognitive Disorders
Hikari Yamashita
Affiliation:
Hyogo Institute for Aging Brain and Cognitive Disorders
*
Manabu Ikeda, MD, Department of Neuropsychiatry. Ehime University School of Medicine. Shigenobu. Onsengun Ehime 791-0295. Japan. Tel: 81-89-960-5315. Fax: 81-89-960-5317. e-mail: mikeda@m.ehime-u.ac.jp

Abstract

Background

Emotional memory is a special category of memory for events arousing strong emotions. To investigate the effects of emotional involvement on memory retention in individuals with Alzheimer's disease we studied peoples' memories of distressing experiences during a devastating earthquake.

Method

Fifty-one subjects with probable Alzheimer's disease who experienced the Kobe earthquake at home in the greater Kobe area were studied. Memories of the earthquake were assessed 6 and 10 weeks after the disaster in semi-structured interviews, and were compared with memories of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination given after the earthquake.

Results

Forty-four (86.3%) of the subjects remembered the earthquake and 16 (31.4%) of subjects remembered the MRI experience. Factual content of the earthquake was lost in most of the subjects.

Conclusions

Fear reinforces memory retention of an episode in subjects with Alzheimer's disease but does not enhance retention of its context, despite repeated exposure to the information.

Type
Papers
Copyright
Copyright © 1998 The Royal College of Psychiatrists 

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Footnotes

See editorial pp. 379–380. this issue.

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