Nurturing syndrome: A form of pathological bereavement with delusions in Alzheimer's disease

Annalena Venneri, Michael F. Shanks, Roger T. Staff, Sergio Della Sala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the history and neuroimaging profile of two patients, CS and KC who developed an unusual bereavement reaction with delusions following the deaths of their husbands. Their neuropsychological profiles met criteria for dementia of Alzheimer type. The delusions about their husbands' existence were persistent despite a considerable passage of time after their deaths. SPECT investigation showed reduction of blood flow in the frontal area in both patients when compared with demented controls and in particular a significant reduction in perfusion was observed in the right frontal regions. We argue that this significant reduction of blood flow in the right frontal area, in the context of severe cognitive deterioration, might be responsible for their delusional reaction to bereavement which we interpret as result of reality monitoring and episodic memory failure. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-224
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Bereavement
  • Delusion
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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