NRL News

The Imperative Not to Forget the Patient With Alzheimer’s

by | Aug 17, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

A column written by Colleen Carroll Campbell is so beautiful, so touching, I want only to say a word before directing you to it so you can be moved as much as I was.

Very briefly, a new report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrates that although patients with memory loss may not remember specific details of events, the emotions they evoke remain. Researchers showed film clips to patients who had damage to the hippocampus, which is similar to that suffered by people with Alzheimer’s disease. Although they could not describe what happened in the films, they continued to feel joy or sorrow.

What does that tell us when we think about “hearing well-intentioned people dismiss the need for her [Campbell’s mother’s] solicitous care or their own failure to visit him by saying that ‘he doesn’t remember anything anyway’”?

The column is titled, “Alzheimer’s kills memories, not emotions.” Be sure to read it.

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