Oral Communication

Arts and implicit memory in care of Alzheimer's patients

Prof Hervé PLATELa, Dr Mathilde GROUSSARDa, Mrs Caroline MAUGERa

a Inserm 1077 - Université de Caen

The relevance of artistic materials in the care of neurodegenerative diseases is undeniable, because Art is a powerful cultural and emotional support making it possible to keep connection and communication with these patients. The music is a usually interesting media in the regulation of the mood, but seems particularly to be a cognitive “stimulator” which enabled us to reveal preserved abilities of long-term memory learning with Alzheimer’s patients at advanced stages of the pathology. Indeed, in spite of their mnesic and linguistic difficulties, these patients demonstrate the ability to memorize new musical information. Our work made it possible to highlight this memorization by the means of the progressive emergence of a feeling of familiarity for musical material, with repeated meetings of exposure. These preserved long-term learning raise questions: is phenomenon specific to music? Which are the cerebral substrates implied? We will show, illustrated by clinical studies, that these phenomena of implicit learning are also true for visual information’s such as paintings. An ongoing study of neuroimaging (IRMf) should finally make it possible to identify the cerebral substrates and resources used by the patients. Beyond the scientific evidence of the positive effects of the interventions using Art, the key contribution of these actions is especially to change the medical, institutional and social images that we have on these patients and to show that it is possible to build care and life projects with Alzheimer patients.

Keywords : Art, music, Alzheimer, implicit learning, neuropsychology