A group of researchers have recently discovered Alzheimer's patients' unusual ability to retain emotion despite memory loss. According to the findings of their study, which is now available in the September 2014 issue of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, patients with Alzheimer's disease may not remember visits from loved ones, or neglect/abuse, but the emotions they felt during these instances linger and can greatly affect their overall emotional state.
This study from the University of Iowa involved showing 17 patients and a healthy control group sad and happy movie clips, which successfully triggered appropriate expressions of emotion such as sorrow and tears, or smiling and laughter. After the viewing, all participants were given a memory test to see how well they could recall the clips they had just seen. Those with Alzheimer's had considerably less or no retention at all, but they reported feeling either sadness or happiness up to 30 minutes after the viewing. In fact, those who remembered less felt the emotion for a longer time, with sadness lasting the longest.The study's lead author, Edmarie Guzmán-Vélez, who is a doctoral student in clinical psychology, said that these findings confirm the d