Sunday, June 9, 2013

People who have Alzheimer’s may experience emotional contagion.

Here is an important piece of research for those who care for loved ones or clients with dementia.
As with babies, and other animals, your emotions can be contagious. This can result in patients becoming needlessly upset. This is why the professionals must be trained and disciplined.

This is why it is important that the caregiver remains calm and quiet. People with dementia do not have those inhibitions that cause them to stop and take it easy. You can transmit your emotions to others.

Now, new research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that emotional contagion is heightened in people with mild cognitive impairment (M.C.I.) and Alzheimer’s. And the greater the level of cognitive deterioration, the more pronounced this emotional mirroring seems to be.
As the hippocampus — the brain region that helps modulate emotional responses — atrophies in Alzheimer’s disease, emotional sensitivity may be heightened, she speculated. And the brain network associated with emotional connection and empathy may become more active as pathways involved in memory and internal reflection become impaired.

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