Listen: Emotions shape memory for people with dementia

Why can some people with dementia remember an event years in the past but then forget something that just happened? An expert explains.

Dec. 3, 2019 | Original article
Duke University | futurity
1 mins

A grandmother in a blue sweater looks at a photo album with her grandaughter, who's wearing a dark gray sweater

Intense emotions may explain why some people with dementia can remember things that happened a long time ago while forgetting things they did just hours in the past, a memory expert explains in this podcast.

“Your mother’s retirement party 30 years ago is a series of sounds that she remembers, visions that she remembers, and emotions. Because it was a highly emotional event she is far more likely to retain that memory,” says Rich O’Brien is a professor of neurology and chair of the neurology department at the Duke University School of Medicine.

“What she had for lunch today might have been incredibly dull, something she has quite frequently, and she might have been distracted while she was eating it,” he says.

Here, O’Brian explains when casual forgetting merits worry and the difference between short term and long term memory:

The transcript of this episode is available here.

Source: Duke University

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