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Patients’ accounts of memory lapses in interactions between neurologists and patients with functional memory disorders

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journal contribution
posted on 25.09.2018, 14:10 by Marc Alexander, Daniel Blackburn, Markus Reuber
One of the most commonly made diagnoses in secondary care memory services is functional memory disorder (FMD). FMD is non‐progressive and characterised by persistent worries about memory failures without objective evidence of cognitive impairment. This study explores how patients with FMD present their memory concerns. Utilizing video recordings of consultations between patients and neurologists in a memory clinic, we show that FMD patients account for their memory deficits as significant disruptions to their daily lives. Resonating with research which identified a dissonance between self‐reports of memory functioning by FMD patients and the outcome of neuropsychological assessments, we demonstrate that, in giving a detailed account of their perceived memory problems, patients provide objective conversational evidence of their cognitive and memory capacity, implicitly undermining the claim of an objective problem. Using conversation analysis, we examine three of the more prominent interactional practices FMD patients draw on when attempting to communicate memory deficits to the doctor – they are (i) contrasts with a standard of ‘normal’; (ii) third‐party observations; and (iii) direct reported speech. These interactional features are recurrent devices for displaying memory concerns as legitimate problems, embedded within patients’ accounts of their day‐to‐day lives.

History

Published in

Sociology of Health and Illness

Volume

41

Issue

2

Pages

249 - 265

Citation

ALEXANDER, M., BLACKBURN, D. and REUBER, M., 2018. Patients’ accounts of memory lapses in interactions between neurologists and patients with functional memory disorders. Sociology of Health and Illness, 41 (2), pp.249-265.

Publisher

Wiley © Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: ALEXANDER, M., BLACKBURN, D. and REUBER, M., 2018. Patients’ accounts of memory lapses in interactions between neurologists and patients with functional memory disorders. Sociology of Health and Illness, 41 (2), pp.249-265, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12819. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Acceptance date

23/07/2018

Publication date

2018-08-31

ISSN

0141-9889

eISSN

1467-9566

Language

en