Mismatch negativity plays a large role in diagnosing certain disorders. When MMN is low or not present, it can mean that there are problems with an individual’s sensory memory. There are several mental health or memory disorders that can affect sensory memory; however, the following two medical conditions are the most common: schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Schizophrenia and Auditory Sensory Memory
In an extensive study done by a group of psychiatrists, it was discovered that a decrease in the function of sensory memory is associated with schizophrenia. In the study, several groups of people were studied in their responses to auditory stimuli, particularly measuring mismatch negativity. There were a group of schizophrenic patients on medications, a group not on medications, a group of Bipolar Affective Disorder patients, and a group of healthy adults.
The study found that in all of the schizophrenic patients, MMN was drastically lowered. This could provide insight as to why these patients have increased negative symptoms; in fact, the study noted that negative symptoms of the disorder were exacerbated by the low MMN, whereas positive ones did not seem to be affected.
Alzheimer's and Auditory Sensory Memory
Another study done by neuroscience researchers studied the effects of auditory stimuli in Alzheimer's patients. They found that mismatch negativity was severely decreased as the patients' condition deteriorated. This could be one reason why Alzheimer's patients have trouble forming new memories: new memories cannot be created if sensory memory is not functioning properly.
If you or a loved one are having difficulty making new memories, you may have a medical disorder that is affecting your sensory memory. There are many tests that can be done to test sensory memory and mismatch negativity. If you suspect that you are having memory problems, seek out professional help to get tested. If the tests come back showing you are having low MMN and sensory memory issues, further tests can determine the cause, so that you can get treatment. While sensory memory issues can be a sign of a serious problem that requires medical attention, people can still benefit from the assistance of a counselor or therapist who can help keep people and their senses engaged.
Studies have shown that online cognitive therapy can help those who have experienced memory impairment. In one report, researchers found that online cognitive treatments were effective in bolstering memory through the utilization of a messaging service. Another study found that online cognitive training (CT) can be beneficial when improving the short-term memory of those experiencing cognitive impairment. These findings are in line with an increasingly large amount of research pointing to online therapy as a valuable component of treatment for a wide range of cognitive impairments, such as memory loss arising out of schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s Disease, or other mental health disorders.
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