As the largest resource of information specific to women's brain health, we are sure you will find what you are looking for, and promise that you will discover new information.
Published on: April 13, 2016
by University of Montreal:
Alzheimer’s not only steals people’s memories but also their ability to recognize faces, which widens the gulf between people with this disease and their loved ones. A recent study has demonstrated that, beyond causing memory problems, Alzheimer’s disease also impairs visual face perception.
This finding may help families better understand their loved one’s inevitable difficulties and lead to new avenues to postpone this painful aspect of the disease. Research in this area by the team of Dr. Sven Joubert, PhD, a researcher at the Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal and a professor with the Department of Psychology at Université de Montréal, will be published tomorrow in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Face perception plays a fundamental role in human communication, which is why humans have evolved into experts at quickly detecting and identifying faces. This faculty is thought to depend on the ability to perceive a face as a whole. Also known as “holistic perception,” this ability is in contrast to the local and detailed analysis required to perceive individual facial features, such as the eyes, nose or mouth. Dr. Joubert’s study has demonstrated that the holistic ability to perceive faces is impaired by Alzheimer’s disease.
For the study, the Montreal team recruited people with Alzheimer’s along with healthy seniors to study their ability to perceive faces and cars in photos that were either upright or upside down. Dr. Joubert explains the team’s findings: “The results for people with Alzheimer’s were similar to those in the control group in terms of answer accuracy and the time to process the upside-down faces and cars.
To perform these tasks, the brain must perform a local analysis of the various image components perceived by the eye. However, with the upright faces, people with Alzheimer’s were much slower and made more mistakes than the healthy individuals. This leads us to believe that holistic face recognition in particular becomes impaired. Subjects with Alzheimer’s disease also demonstrated normal recognition of the upright cars, a task that in theory does not require holistic processing. This suggests that Alzheimer’s leads to visual perception problems specifically with faces.” What’s also surprising about this impairment is that it is observed in the early stages of the disease.
Overall, Dr. Joubert’s study better explains the mechanism involved in the problem that people with Alzheimer’s have with recognizing the faces of family members or celebrities. The fact that impaired facial recognition might stem from a holistic perception problem–and not just a general memory problem–opens the door to different strategies (such as the recognition of particular facial traits or voice recognition) to help patients recognize their loved ones for longer.
Electromagnetic brain stimulation of an area of the brain known as the hippocampus has improved the memory of older adults with age-related memory loss, in a study published in the journal Neurology. Researchers from Northwestern...
Telling an elderly parent that they need to stop driving and taking away their car keys is one of the most difficult things adult children have to do. But there is something that can be...
Using a machine-learning approach, investigators identified four plasma proteins that correlate with cerebrospinal fluid amyloid-beta-1-42 status; these proteins plus apolipoprotein E4 genotype predicted amyloid positivity. Levels of four blood proteins, when combined with apolipoprotein...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.