John Libbey Eurotext

Gériatrie et Psychologie Neuropsychiatrie du Vieillissement


Main interventions for rehabilitation of autobiographical memory in Alzheimer's disease from early to severe stage: a review and new perspectives Volume 11, issue 3, Septembre 2013

Laboratoire mémoire et cognition, Institut de psychologie, Université Paris Descartes, Boulogne Billancourt, France, Inserm UMR S894, Centre de psychiatrie et neurosciences, Paris, France

Given the limitations of pharmacological treatments in Alzheimer's disease, many non-drug therapies have emerged in recent decades and are often offered in complement of pharmacological treatments. The cognitive rehabilitation interventions focused on memory are usual in Alzheimer's disease. Memory deficits are prominent from the early stages of the disease and cause detriment to patient autonomy in daily life. In particular, problems of identity and autobiographical memory, although still often overlooked in the patients’ general neuropsychological profile, appear right away. Because of their more insidious negative influence, specific treatments are still underdeveloped. Rehabilitation of autobiographical memory is complex because it requires taking into account its multiple components, both semantic and episodic, but also understanding its links with personal identity. Thus, this article provides an overview of existing cognitive rehabilitation interventions of anterograde and retrograde autobiographical memory in Alzheimer's disease. We specify the contribution of new technologies to improve the consolidation of recent events memory and of a rehabilitation program of autobiographical memory - REMau -, derived from the TEMPau task, which takes into account the constructive nature of episodic memories via the personal semantic through different periods of life. The main aim is to examine what are the objectives, benefits and limitations of these interventions and to estimate how they can meet the more general problem of deficiency in personal identity. As identity is constructed on the basis of past experience, but is modulated by new experiences, our current challenge is to associate combined treatments of anterograde and retrograde memory based on the interaction between autobiographical memory and the self.