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Understanding neurological correlates of the symptoms of Alzheimer related dementia is vital to developers of new therapies, but equally important is an understanding of the role of daily caregivers, the function of "personal memories" as distinct from "general knowledge," and the effects of environmental factors in the lives of people who suffer from Alzheimer Disease (DAT).†† Digital media provide developers with the means to create adaptive interfaces, both to suit individual needs and also as communication interface between patient and caregiver. In addition to physiological and neuroimaging research, recent clinical research has focused on the brainís ability to associate, to continually fine tune, and to connect new information with old.

A screen shot showing family photos arranged beneath an audio timeline.

It is clear from such research, if not common sense alone, that the persistent remaking of memory from experience will be central to any theory of how memory is formed, retained, and how it may be lost as the result of impairment related to hippocampal and central-executive functions.Research focusing on verbal fluency suggests that DAT patients probably do not lose access to specific memories per se, but actually lose the ability to discriminate between higher level organizing concepts[1].But, are there strengths among sufferers of DAT that could be helpful in coping with the loss of organizing and contextual parameters, which are so vital to memory and comprehension?

[1] In one such test, patients were asked to generate words beginning with the letter ĎAí and also were asked to generate examples of the category Ďanimalí.Mildly demented DAT patients were only impaired on the latter task suggesting a collapse of the defining attributes of higher order categorical knowledge rather than a general inability to access knowledge.(Saloman 1999)