Minimising interference with early consolidation boosts 7-day retention in amnesic patients

Jessica Alber, Sergio Della Sala, Michaela Dewar

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    16 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective: A short wakeful rest immediately after learning boosts memory retention in amnesic patients over several minutes. Here we investigated whether a short wakeful rest could boost memory retention in amnesic patients over a much longer period. Method: The authors tested 15 patients with amnesia associated with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI)/mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and 15 age and-education-matched controls. All participants learned 2 prose passages, 1 followed by a 10-min wakeful rest (minimal sensory stimulation), and the other by a 10-min visual spot the difference game. Participants were given a surprise delayed recall test for both prose passages after 15–30 min and after 7 days. Results: Wakeful resting boosted memory substantially in the patients over 15–30 min and 7
    days: After 7 days all 15 patients retained 30% of the prose that had been learned prior to wakeful resting. In contrast, after 7 days, only 4 patients retained 30% of the prose that had been learned prior to playing the spot the difference game. Conclusions: This striking 7-day memory boost via wakeful
    resting is remarkable, given that amnesic patients often struggle to remember new information over just a few minutes. Our novel findings indicate that there is substantial capacity for longer-term retention in patients with amnestic MCI/mild AD, and bolster the hypothesis that wakeful resting boosts memory by
    protecting the compromised memory consolidation system from interfering incoming information.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)667-675
    Number of pages9
    JournalNeuropsychology
    Volume28
    Issue number5
    Early online date12 May 2014
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

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