Emotional Perception in Alzheimer’s disease

The majority of caregiving for patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is provided by spouses.  Along with memory problems patients with AD may have difficulty understanding emotions via facial expression and language (emotional perception), which could lead to changes in caregiver experience and patient behavior.  This research study examines emotional perception in AD patients and the relationship between emotional perception, patient behaviors, and caregiver’s experience.

Participation in the study involves one in-home visit that will last approximately one and a half hours.  During this visit a member of our research team will conduct a paper and pencil cognitive task with the AD participant, followed by an emotional perception task.  The emotional perception task will involve looking at pictures of faces and listening to audio-recordings.  Caregivers will then be provided with a few questionnaires about their experiences.

Approximately 120 participants (60 AD participants, 60 caregivers, and 60 healthy older adults) between the ages 65-95 will be recruited for this study.  We are currently recruiting patients diagnosed with AD, spousal caregivers, and healthy older adults to participate in this research study.  In order to participate, AD participants must live with their spousal caregivers. Candidates will not be able to participate if they have a prior history of a brain disorder affecting cognition such as Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, Parkinson’s disease, other dementia, stroke, brain injury, or major mental illness such as major depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, or active alcohol or substance abuse.

Inquiries about this study should be directed to Ryan Daley, the study coordinator, at 781-687-3645 or ryan.daley@va.gov.