Phenomenon of selective forgetting in people with dementia
The Mnemic Neglect in Dementia study, organised by researchers at the University of the West of England, is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society to find out how people react when they are told they have dementia. This study will look at what factors play a role in how people cope with being given a diagnosis of dementia. We caught up with Chief Investigator, Professor Richard Cheston, to find out more.
What are the main aims of the Mnemic Neglect in Dementia study?
We are looking to study the phenomenon of mnemic neglect in people with dementia. Mnemic neglect refers to the way in which our memories tend to be worse for information that in some way threatens our self-concept (how we view ourselves). Findings from research with the general population suggest that the amount of information that we remember often depends on the extent to which this information contradicts our self-concept. We are studying this through a number of verbal memory tests with people with dementia; using the same procedures as has been used in the general population by colleagues at the University of Southampton.
What does it involve for a participant?
Participants meet with a researcher to go through a series of memory tests. These are very similar to what someone might be asked to do at a memory clinic when being assessed for dementia. Participants are asked to listen to a number of statements and asked to recall them either straight away or after a delay. There is also a recognition test where people will be asked if they had previously heard a specific statement.
How long is the study for? / Is it a one-off visit?
Participants have only one visit for this study and this can last up to an hour, but most appointments last around 45 minutes. Researchers can either visit participants in their home or participants can come into the clinic.
What do you hope the outcomes of the study will be?
If we are able to show that the same effect of mnemic neglect happen for people with dementia as happens in a non-clinical population, then we may be able to go on to develop more effective ways of talking to people with dementia about their illness.
Where is the study based?
The study is based in the South West of England. We are recruiting people from the RICE clinic in Bath, from Avon and Wiltshire Partnership NHS Trust and from the Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service.
The study is looking for people with Alzheimer’s Disease, Vascular Dementia or Mixed Dementia (Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia), and live in the Avon & Wiltshire area.
You can see if you are eligible for this study – and others around the nation by logging into your Join Dementia Research account.
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