Skip to main content Accessibility help

It is not only memory: effects of sensecam on improving well-being in patients with mild alzheimer disease

  • Ana Rita Silva (a1), Maria Salomé Pinho (a1), Luís Macedo (a2), Christopher Moulin (a3), Salomé Caldeira (a4) and Horácio Firmino (a4)...



Cognitive interventions (either restorative or compensatory) developed for mild Alzheimer's Disease (AD) have been tested widely with cognitive measures, but less is known about how the effects of such interventions are generalizable to daily functioning. In the present study, we looked at affective state and perceived functionality and quality of life indicators, for three different cognitive rehabilitation programs.


Fifty-one AD patients in the mild stage of the disease were selected for the study and were randomly assigned to one of three cognitive training groups: (1) Memo+ (a paper and pencil memory training program); (2) SenseCam (wearable camera used as a passive external memory aid); (3) Written diary (a personal journal, used as control condition). All patients attended 11 sessions, twice a week, of 1-hour length. The three outcome indicators were examined with standardized instruments applied before the intervention, one week after and at six months follow-up.


After treatment, the SenseCam and Memo+ groups had significantly reduced depressive symptoms compared to the Diary control condition. The same was found for measures of perceived functional capacity. No intervention effects were found for quality of life measures. The immediate effects of the interventions were not maintained at follow-up.


Our results suggest that two types of memory rehabilitation can improve depressive symptomology and instrumental activities of daily living, suggesting that these interventions can stimulate not only cognition but also well-being, at least in the short term.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Ana Rita Silva, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Coimbra, CINEICC – Cognitive and Behavioural Center for Research and Intervention Colégio Novo Street, s/n 3001–802 Coimbra, Portugal. Phone: +351 239851450. Email:


Hide All
Alves, L., Simões, M. R. and Martins, C. (2012). The estimation of premorbid intelligence levels among portuguese speakers: the irregular word reading test (TeLPI). Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 27, 5868. DOI: 10.1093/arclin/acr103.
Arkin, S. (2001). Alzheimer rehabilitation by students: interventions and outcomes. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 11, 273317. DOI: 10.1080/09602010143000059.
Bahar-Fuchs, A., Clare, L. and Woods, B. (2013). Cognitive training and cognitive rehabilitation for mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews, 6, 1100. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003260.pub2.
Baquero, M. and Martín, N. (2015). Depressive symptoms in neurodegenerative diseases. World Journal of Clinical Cases: WJCC, 3, 682693.
Belleville, S. (2008). Cognitive training for persons with mild cognitive impairment. International Psychogeriatrics, 20, 5766. doi: 10.1017/S104161020700631X.
Berry, E. et al. (2007). The use of a wearable camera SenseCam as a pictorial diary to improve autobiographical memory in a patient with limbic encephalitis. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 17, 582681. DOI:
Bourgeois, M. (2007). Memory Books and Other Graphic Cuing Systems. New York: Health Professions Press, Paul H. Brookes Publishing.
Cammisuli, D. M. Danti, S. Bosinelli, F. and Cipriani, G. (2016). Non-pharmacological interventions for people with alzheimer's disease: a critical review of the scientific literature from the last ten years. European Geriatric Medicine, 7, 5764.
Cherry, K. E., Walvoord, A. A. and Hawley, K. S. (2010). Spaced retrieval enhances memory for a name-face-occupation association in older adults with probable Alzheimer's disease. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 171, 168181. DOI: 10.1080/00221320903548118.
Choi, J. and Twamley, E. W. (2013). Cognitive rehabilitation therapies for Alzheimer's disease: a review of methods to improve treatment engagement and self-efficacy. Neuropsychology Review, 23, 4862.
Clare, L. et al. (2010). Goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation for people with early-stage alzheimer disease: a single-blind randomized controlled trial of clinical efficacy. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 18, 928939. DOI: 10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181d5792a
Clare, L. et al. (2010). Goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation for people with early-stage alzheimer disease: a single-blind randomized controlled trial of clinical efficacy. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 18, 928939.
Clare, L., Wilson, B. A., Carter, G., Hodges, J. R. and Adams, M. (2001). Long-term maintenance of treatment gains following a cognitive rehabilitation intervention in early dementia of Alzheimer type: a single case study. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 11, 477494.
Crete-Nishihata, et al. (2012). Reconstructing the past: personal memory technologies are not just personal and not just for memory. Human-Computer Interaction, 27, 92123. doi: 10.1080/07370024.2012.656062.
De Leo, G., Brivio, E. and Sautter, S. W. (2011). Supporting autobiographical memory in patients with Alzheimer's disease using smart phones, Applied Neuropsychology, 18, 6976. DOI: 10.1080/09084282.2011.545730.
Dunn, J. and Clare, L. (2007). Learning face – name associations in early-stage dementia: comparing the effects of errorless learning and effortful processing. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 17, 735754. DOI:
Fish, J., Wilson, B. and Manly, T. (2010). The assessment and rehabilitation of prospective memory problems in people with neurological disorders. A review. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 20, 161178. DOI:
Folstein, M., Folstein, S. and McHugh, P. (1975). Mini-mental state. A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician. Journal of Psychiatry Research, 12, 189198.
Gitlin, L. N. and Schulz, R. (2012). Family caregiving of older adults. In Prohaska, T. R., Anderson, L. A. and Binstock, R. H. (eds.), Public Health for an Aging Society (pp. 181204). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Goncalves, D., Albuquerque, P. and Paul, C. (2009). Life review with older women: an intervention to reduce depression and improve autobiographical memory. Aging and Clinical Experimental Research, 21, 369371.
Hampstead, B. M., Sathian, K., Phillips, P. A., Amaraneni, A., Delaune, W. R. and Stringer, A. Y. (2012). Mnemonic strategy training improves memory for object location associations in both healthy elderly and patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment: a randomized, single-blind study. Neuropsychology, 26, 385399.
Haslam, C., Jetten, J., Haslam, S. A., Pugliese, C. and Tonks, J. (2011). I remember therefore I am, and I am therefore I remember: exploring the contributions of episodic and semantic self-knowledge to strength of identity. British Journal of Psychology, 102, 184203. DOI: 0.1348/000712610X508091
Hodges, S. et al. (2006). SenseCam: a retrospective memory aid. Ubiquitous Computing Proceedings, 4206, 177193. DOI:
Huckans, M., Hutson, L., Twamley, E., Jak, A., Kaye, J. and Storzbach, D. (2013). Efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation therapies for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in older adults: working toward a theoretical model and evidence-based interventions. Neuropsychological Review, 23, 6380. DOI: 10.1007/s11065-013-9230-9.
Jahn, H. (2013). Memory loss in Alzheimer's disease. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 15, 445454.
Kapur, N., Glisky, E. and Wilson, B. (2004). Technological memory aids for people with memory deficits. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 14, 4160. DOI:
Lee, M. and Dey, A. (2008). Lifelogging memory applicance for people with episodic memory impairment. Conference on Ubiquitous Computing. Ubicomp ’08 Proceedings. DOI:
Lee, S. et al. (2009). Effects of spaced retrieval training on cognitive function in alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 49, 289293. DOI: 10.1016/j.archger.2008.10.005.
Loewenstein, D. A., Acevedo, A., Czaja, S. J. and Duara, R. (2004). Cognitive rehabilitation of mildly impaired Alzheimer's disease patients on cholinesterase inhibitors. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 12, 395402. DOI:
Logsdon, R. G., McCurry, S. M. and Teri, L. (2007). Evidence-based interventions to improve quality of life for individuals with dementia. Alzheimers Care Today, 8, 309318.
Loveday, C. and Conway, M. (2011). Using sensecam with an amnesic patient: accessing inaccessible everyday memories, Memory, 19, 697704. DOI: 10.1080/09658211.2011.610803.
Martin, M., Clare, L., Altgassen, A., Cameron, M. and Zehnder, F. (2011). Cognition-based interventions for healthy older people and people with mild cognitive impairment. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, 1, 132. Art. No.: CD006220. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006220.pub2.
McKhann, G. M. et al. (2011). The diagnosis of dementia due to alzheimer's disease: recommendations from the national institute on aging-alzheimer's association workgroups on diagnostic guidelines for alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, 7, 263269.
Mioshi, E., Dawson, K., Mitchell, J., Arnold, R. and Hodges, J. R. (2006). The addenbrooke's cognitive examination revised (ACE-R): a brief cognitive test battery for dementia screening. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 21, 10781085. DOI:
Moore, M. T. and Fresco, D. M. (2012). Depressive realism: a meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 32, 496509.
Morris, C. et al. (1993). The consortium to establish a registry for Alzheimer's disease. Part IV. Rates of cognitive change in the longitudinal assessment of probable Alzheimer's disease. Neurolog, 43, 24572465.
Olazarán, J. et al. (2010). Nonpharmacological therapies in alzheimer's disease: a systematic review of efficacy. Dementia and other Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 30, 161178.
Piras, F., Borella, E., Incoccia, C. and Carlesimo, G. A. (2011). Evidence-based practice recommendations for memory rehabilitation. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 47, 149175. ISSN: 1973–9087.
Prebble, S., Addis, D. R. and Tippett, L. J. (2013). Autobiographical memory and sense of self. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 815840. doi: 10.1037/a0030146.
Raes, F., Williams, J. M. G. and Hermans, D. (2009). Reducing cognitive vulnerability to depression: a preliminary investigation of MEmory specificity training (MEST) in inpatients with depressive symptomatology. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 40, 2438.
Rathbone, C. J., Holmes, E. A., Murphy, S. E. and Ellis, J. A. (2015). Autobiographical memory and well-being in aging: the central role of semantic self-images. Consciousness and Cognition, 33, 422431.
Robert, P., Ferris, S., Gauthier, S., Ihl, R., Winblad, B. and Tennigkeit, F. (2010). Review of alzheimer's disease scales: is there a need for a new multi-domain scale for therapy evaluation in medical practice?. Alzheimer's Research & Therapy, 2, 24.
Salomone, S., Caraci, F., Leggio, G. M., Fedotova, J. and Drago, F. (2012). New pharmacological strategies for treatment of alzheimer's disease: focus on disease modifying drugs. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 73, 504517.
Seidl, U., Lueken, U., Thomann, P. A., Geider, J. and Schröder, J. (2011). Autobiographical memory deficits in alzheimer's disease. Journal of Alzheimer Disease, 27, 567574.
Serrano, J., Latorre, J., Gatz, M. and Montanes, J. (2004). Life review therapy using autobiographical retrieval practice for older adults with depressive symptomatology. Psychology and Aging, 19, 272277.
Sikkes, S. A. et al. (2011). Do instrumental activities of daily living predict dementia at 1‐ and 2‐year follow‐up? Findings from the development of screening guidelines and diagnostic criteria for predementia Alzheimer's disease study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 59, 22732281.
Silva, A. R., Pinho, S., Macedo, L. and Moulin, C. J. (2013). Immediate benefits of sensecam review on neuropsychological test performance. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44, 302–207. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.11.005.
Silva, A., Pinho, S., Macedo, L. and Moulin, C. (submitted) Testing the promise of new technology: the cognitive effects of wearable cameras in Mild Alzheimer disease.
Silva, A., Pinho, S., Macedo, L. and Moulin, C. (2016). A critical review of the effects of wearable cameras on memory. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 6, 125. DOI:
Thivierge, S., Simard, M., Jean, L. and Grandmaison, E. (2008). Errorless learning and spaced retrieval techniques to relearn instrumental activities of daily living in mild Alzheimer's disease: a case report study. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 4, 987999.
Vilar, M., Simões, M. R., Sousa, L. B., Firmino, H., Paredes, T. and Lima, M. P. (2010). Avaliação da Qualidade de Vida em Adultos Idosos: Notas em torno do processo de adaptação e validação do WHOQOL-OLD para a população portuguesa. In Canavarro, M. C. and Serra, A. Vaz (eds.), Qualidade de vida e saúde: Uma abordagem na perspectiva da Organização Mundial de Saúde (pp. 229250). Lisboa: F. C. Gulbenkian.
Williams, J. M. G. et al. (2007). Autobiographical memory specificity and emotional disorder. Psychological Bulletin, 133, 122149.
Williams, J. M. G. and Broadbent, K. (1986). Autobiographical memory in suicide attempters. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 144149.
Woodberry, E., Browne, G., Hodges, S., Watson, P., Kapur, N. and Woodberry, K. (2015). The use of a wearable camera improves autobiographical memory in patients with alzheimer disease. Memory, 23, 340349. DOI: 10.1080/09658211.2014.886703.
Yesavage, J. et al. (1983). Development and validation of a geriatric depression screening scale: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychiatry Research, 17, 3742.
Zec, R. and Burkett, N. (2008). Non-pharmacological and pharmocological treatment of the cognitive and behavioural symptoms of alzheimer's disease. Neurorehabilitation, 23, 425438.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

It is not only memory: effects of sensecam on improving well-being in patients with mild alzheimer disease

  • Ana Rita Silva (a1), Maria Salomé Pinho (a1), Luís Macedo (a2), Christopher Moulin (a3), Salomé Caldeira (a4) and Horácio Firmino (a4)...


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.