Remembering a life: an examination of open-ended life stories and the reminiscence bump in patients with Alzheimer’s disease

Katrine W. Rasmussen*, Dorthe Berntsen

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Abstract

Autobiographical memory impairments are prominent in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Yet, life narratives of AD patients are scarcely examined. Here, twenty-one older adults diagnosed with probably AD and 22 age-matched healthy controls told their life story, and dated the events mentioned in these narratives. AD patients provided significantly fewer life story memories overall, but the proportion of memories with reference to specific events did not differ between groups. Patients included fewer negative events in their life story, while the emotional tone of narratives was similar across groups. Impairments were found on most structural aspects, with patients’ narratives being less coherent and ending somewhere in the past, while no differences were seen for life story beginnings. Both groups showed a peak in remembered events dated to young adulthood, consistent with a reminiscence bump. However, in contrast to controls, patients displayed a steep drop in life story memories after the age of 30. For both groups, a high proportion of memories within the bump period were of life script events, consistent with the idea that the life script helps to structure the recall of personal life story memories, thus suggesting that AD patients still benefit from the retrieval support of this semantic structure.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftMemory
Vol/bind31
Nummer4
Sider (fra-til)457-473
Antal sider17
ISSN0965-8211
DOI
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2023

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