12 Apr Why Does Alzheimer’s Take Away Ability To Recognize Faces?
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Sven Joubert, PhD
Département de psychologie, Université de Montréal
Centre de recherche Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (CRIUGM)
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Joubert: Difficulties in recognizing familiar people in Alzheimer’s disease have typically been attributed to the underlying memory impairment. There is evidence however that people with Alzheimer’s disease also have difficulties in visual perception. The aim of this study was to determine if people with Alzheimer’s were specifically impaired at face perception. In the current study, people with Alzheimer’s along with healthy seniors were asked to process pictures of faces and cars at both upright and inverted orientation. Results showed that persons with Alzheimer’s disease had a reduced face inversion effect, in other words they had a disproportionate impairment in processing upright relative to inverted faces. This reduced inversion effect in Alzheimer’s disease, which was specific to faces, may reflect a reduced ability in “holistic” processing of faces, in other words the ability to form intergrated and individualized representations of faces based on their local features.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Joubert: The current study provides new insights into the nature of the face processing difficulties encountered in Alzheimer’s disease. The take home message is that people with Alzheimer’s disease also have problems in face perception. Knowing this helps to better understand the nature of the cognitive difficulties in the disease.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Joubert: Future studies should continue to investigate:
i) the specific nature of face recognition difficulties in Alzheimer’s disease;
ii) the brain bases of these deficits using neuroimaging; and
iii) to what extent the reduced face inversion effect is related to face recognition difficulties in everyday life.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
J Alzheimers Dis. 2016 Feb 26. [Epub ahead of print]
A Qualitative Impairment in Face Perception in Alzheimer’s Disease: Evidence from a Reduced Face Inversion Effect.
Lavallée MM1,2, Gandini D1,2, Rouleau I3,4, Vallet GT1,2, Joannette M1,2, Kergoat MJ5,6, Busigny T7,8, Rossion B8, Joubert S1,2.
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