Duke, the resident in a nursing home, reads a romantic story to an elderly woman who suffers from senile dementia. The story describes the love ordeal of Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun who fell in love and escaped to New York because the parents were opposing their relationship because the two came from different social classes. It is in the late 30s that a wealthy 17-year-old Allie spends her summer vacation in Seabrook. Calhoun, who is a local worker meets Allie at a carnival. They fall in love after that and Calhoun takes Allie to an old house which he always has dreams of purchasing. The two attempts to have love but they are interrupted by their friend.
Noah writes love letters to Allie through Allie's mother, but the mother does not deliver the letters to her daughter. Despite Noah writing letters on a daily basis for a whole year, Allie does not receive even one letter because her mother fails to deliver the letters. Later, they are both enlisted to be the World War II U.S army and Noah works as a soldier while Allie works as a nurse. During her work, she meets an injured soldier called Lon whom they later fell in love after the war. Lon was both wealthy and handsome, and therefore he put Allie between a rock and a hard place when he proposed to her. On the other hand, Noah restores and buys the old house he dreamt of before, and the house picks a high demand.
An advert of the house in a newspaper catches the attention of Allie, and she is torn between her first love with Noah and her commitment with Lon. Meanwhile, the children are visiting the old lady, and therefore Duke stops reading the story to her. Elderly Allie after that reminisces about her past before Noah/Duke, and she spends a short but intimate time together. After she originally discovers her illness, she writes her story in a notebook instructing Noah to "Read this to me, and I'll come back to you." However, Allie relapses and lose memory once more. An attending physician has to sedate her because she panics and this becomes too much for Noah who breaks down. He is found the next morning unconscious in bed and is rushed to the hospital. He later returns to intensive care ward and goes to visit Allie in her room that night when Allie remembers once more. They are found by a nurse the next morning having died peacefully holding hands.
Stanley Klein, Judith Loftus, John Kihlstrom (2002) in the article entitled "Memory and Temporal Experience: the Effects of Episodic Memory Loss on an Amnesic Patient's Ability to Remember the Past and Imagine the Future", examines the effects of the loss of memory on the ability of a patient to remember the past while imagining the future. They present D.B's case who suffered severe amnesia as a result of hypoxic damage to the brain. The patient suffered severe amnesia for the past which he experienced personally. Contrary to that, her knowledge about the past which was not personal was preserved, and that is also common with his ability to anticipate the events of the future.
The fact that D.B great problems with the imagination of his future experiences and were quite good at anticipating events and issues in the public domain suggests that neuropsychological dissociations between semantic and episodic for the memory may extend to the patient's ability to anticipate the future. This reference shows some connection with the story of Allie and Noah in that; the fact that Allie could not remember her past with Noah led her to fail to anticipate the future with him. However, when she later remembers her past, she held hands with Noah and eventually died together.
John Swinton (2017) provides a personal perspective about how being a patient of dementia feels and look like. The author presents the religious perspective of looking at the plight of patients of that nature. Wondering how he is expected to know about the God whom he forgot and how he is supposed to be accepted as a stranger, the author creates a reality around patients with dementia, which should be carefully related when helping patients of such nature.
Seamon, J. (2015) On the other hand, presents a clear explanation of what might be happening with Allie. For instance, the author explains that procedural memory cannot be remembered by recall because they are acquired through practice and behavior which is cultivated for many years. The author gives an analogy of a swimmer who has swum before and a person who has never swum before. It would be useless to explain the instruction of swimming to the person who has never had the experience of swimming before.
The movie is presented in quite an interesting manner. A patient reads to another patient a beautiful story which relates to their lives in a bid to make the patient remember her past. The use of a story is a good demonstration of how the creation of mental images brings about memory. It was expected that Allie would sort of learn the story of the plight of the two lovers in the story which would then create or arouse a lot of emotions and sympathy. In the process, the memory would be triggered into remembrance. Another interesting part of the movie is the end. It was difficult to understand the link of the story with the patients, but at the end, a reader can grasp that the two characters in the story being read by the hospital's resident to another patient. This is the most captivating part and not only is it good for explaining the whole scenario but it also provides the basis for explaining about episodic memory.
The movie brought out the connection between episodic memory and emotion. In that manner, emotions increase the likelihood of an event being remembered vividly in the mind of a person, and it is also applicable to patients suffering from senile dementia. In that case, researchers have also purported that flashbulb memory which is an example of episodic memory can be restored more effectively when they are retold for a long time. That is true with the movie which shows the resident in the hospital continuously retelling the story to the patient. The combination of a continuous story tells of events and the emotional aspect of the events in the story was a huge contributing factor for the rebirth of the patient's memory in the most dramatic manner. One thing that could be changed in the movie though was the use of death at the end of it. The movie could have been more complete if it demonstrated how far the patient went in remembrance and regaining of her memory.
A lot of research has been conducted on the disease, to find the solution. However, there has not been an exact or instant cure for the disease. Dementia has been termed as a group of diseases that affects a person's brain and the cognitive part. The fact that the condition is caused by many diseases leads to the reason why it has no cure. However, at the moment, research is focusing on finding the cure for the diseases that lead to dementia such as vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Huge strides have been made in finding the causes of the condition, and with increased funding on that area, there has been more research studies and clinical trials with great results. Stem cells and dementia is one of the major areas that research is concentrating on.
Scientists have obtained skin cells from people with dementia and preprogrammed those cells in the lab and triggered the cells into brain cells (T O'Brien & Thomas, 2015). With this kind of experiment, scientists have acquired insights on how dementia starts, grows and how it can be halted. The brain cells can later be used to test potential treatment at the early stages of the condition. Also, immunotherapy has also been explored in the fight against dementia. It involves boosting the defense of the body to fight against the disease. Some studies have undertaken tests of using vaccination against abnormal proteins building up in Alzheimer's disease. Monoclonal antibodies have also been used, targeting the proteins to slow the condition. From clinical trials, the initial results of the drug were promising.
Klein, S. B., Loftus, J., & Kihlstrom, J. F. (2002). Memory and temporal experience: The effects of episodic memory loss on an amnesic patient's ability to remember the past and imagine the future. Social Cognition, 20(5), 353-379.
Seamon, J. (2015). Memory and Movies: What Films Can Teach Us about Memory. MIT Press.
Swinton, J. (2017). Dementia: Living in the memories of God. SCM Press.
T O'Brien, J., & Thomas, A. (2015). Vascular dementia. The Lancet, 386(10004), 1698-1706.
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