Emotional enhancement effects on memory have been reported to mitigate the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, relative to their manifestation in persons without pathologic aging, these effects may be reduced in magnitude or even deleterious, especially in tasks that more closely model ecologic memory performance. Based upon a synthesis of such reports, we hypothesized that in persons with AD low arousal positive stimuli would evoke relatively intact emotional enhancement effects, but that high arousal negative stimuli would evoke disordered emotional enhancement effects. To assess this, participants with and without mild cognitive impairment (MCI) presumed to be due to AD performed an emotionally-valenced short-term memory task while encephalography was recorded. Results indicated that for persons with MCI, high arousal negative stimuli led to working memory processing patterns previously associated with MCI presumed due to AD and dementia of the Alzheimer-type. In contrast, low arousal positive stimuli evoked a processing pattern similar to MCI participants’ unaffected spouses. Our current findings suggest that low arousal positive stimuli attenuate working memory deficits of MCI due to AD.

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Published in Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, v. 60, no. 4, p. 1333-1349.

© 2017 – IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved

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The document available for download is the authors' post-peer-review final draft of the article.

The final publication is available at IOS Press through https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-170233.

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Funding Information

This work was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health (5 T32 AG 242-18; P30 AG028383; UL1RR033173; UL1TR000117).

Authors’ disclosures available online (http://j-alz.com/manuscript-disclosures/17-0233r3).