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Self-defining Memories and their Contribution to the Sense of Self in Alzheimer’s Disease

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Aims: Unlike autobiographical memory (i.e., memory for personal information) in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), little is known about Self-Defining Memories (SDM) (i.e., memories of highly significant personal events) in AD.

Methods: The characteristics of self-defining memories in AD were evaluated by analyzing their specificity, emotional valence, and integration, as well as their centrality and contribution to self-continuity. Results demonstrated fewer specific SDM in AD participants than in controls.

Results: No significant differences were observed between AD participants and controls regarding the production of positive or integrated SDM. Furthermore, no significant differences were observed between AD participants and controls regarding the rating of the centrality of SDM and their contribution to self-continuity. These results demonstrate that, although AD participants produce fewer specific SDM than controls, both populations have similar levels of emotional valence, integration, centrality, and selfcontinuity of these memories.

Conclusion: It is concluded that patients with AD, at least those in the mild stages of the disease, can build on significant personal events and experiences (i.e., SDM) to reflect on how these events have changed the way they see themselves.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; autobiographical memory; memory; self; self-continuity; self-defining memories

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2020

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  • Current Alzheimer Research publishes peer-reviewed frontier review and research articles on all areas of Alzheimer's disease. This multidisciplinary journal will help in understanding the neurobiology, genetics, pathogenesis, and treatment strategies of Alzheimer's disease. The journal publishes objective reviews written by experts and leaders actively engaged in research using cellular, molecular, and animal models. The journal also covers original articles on recent research in fast emerging areas of molecular diagnostics, brain imaging, drug development and discovery, and clinical aspects of Alzheimer's disease. Manuscripts are encouraged that relate to the synergistic mechanism of Alzheimer's disease with other dementia and neurodegenerative disorders. Book reviews, meeting reports and letters-to-the-editor are also published. The journal is essential reading for researchers, educators and physicians with interest in age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Current Alzheimer Research provides a comprehensive 'bird's-eye view' of the current state of Alzheimer's research for neuroscientists, clinicians, health science planners, granting, caregivers and families of this devastating disease.
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