Impaired capacity for autonoetic reliving during autobiographical event recall in mild Alzheimer’s disease

English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzhei...
English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer’s disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take-home message: Autonoesis or ‘Autonoetic consciousness is the human ability to mentally place ourselves in the past, in the future, or in counterfactual situations, and to analyze our own thoughts‘ (wiki). Here, we focus on impairments of autonoesis in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), using the Episodic Autobiographical Memory Interview (EAMI). We find impairments in AD patients with the following pattern: AD [Download the paper]

Impaired capacity for autonoetic reliving during autobiographical event recall in mild Alzheimer’s disease

Cortex. 2011 Feb;47(2):236-49. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2010.01.002. Epub 2010 Jan 18.

Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience and Mercer’s Institute for Research on Ageing, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland. irishmu@tcd.ie

The capacity to mentally travel back in time and relive past events via autonoetic consciousness has been shown to be compromised even in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). To further understand the unravelling of the recollective experience in pathological ageing, we investigated autobiographical memory (ABM) using the Episodic Autobiographical Memory Interview (EAMI) in thirty middle-aged and thirty healthy elderly controls, and twenty patients with mild AD. Of key interest was the recall of contextual details and the behavioural markers predictive of autonoetic reliving. AD patients exhibited significant difficulties in recalling contextual details across all life epochs on the EAMI manifesting in a negative temporal gradient from the Early Adulthood epoch onwards. Overall there was a low incidence of autonoetic consciousness during ABM recall across all participant groups and life epochs when compared with previous studies. AD patients showed a compromised capacity to mentally relive past memories (AD

PMID: 20153463

Author: Shane O'Mara

Neuroscientist

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