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Amnesia - What is it?

A selective disruption of the processes underlying long-term memory Short-term and sensory memory are typically functional Other cognitive functions are not impaired
Intelligence, attention...

Amnesia - What is it?


A selective disruption of the processes underlying long-term memory Short-term and sensory memory are typically functional Other cognitive functions are not impaired
Intelligence, attention...

Recency vs Primacy
Amnesia patients exhibit recency effect but not primacy effect
Long-term memory Short-term memory

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Amnesia - What is it?


A selective disruption of the processes underlying long-term memory Short-term and sensory memory are typically functional Other cognitive functions are not impaired
Intelligence, attention...

Retrograde & Anterograde


Retrograde amnesia - Loss of information that was learned before the onset of amnesia Anterograde amnesia - inability to learn new information after the onset of amnesia Both can occur in the same patient and commonly do

Retrograde & Anterograde


Retrograde amnesia - Loss of information that was learned before the onset of amnesia Anterograde amnesia - inability to learn new information after the onset of amnesia Both can occur in the same patient and commonly do

Causes of Amnesia
Concussion Migraines Hypoglycemia Epilepsy Electroconvulsive shock therapy Specific brain lesions (i.e. surgical removal) Ischemic events Drugs (esp. anesthetics) Infection Psychological Nutritional deficiency

Types of memory

Proposed types of memory


Fact memory Declarative Memory Explicit Knowing that Cognitive mediation Conscious recollection Skill memory Non-declarative (Procedural) Habit Implicit Knowing How Semantic Skills

Elaboration
Memory with record Autobiographical representational Vertical association Locale Episodic Working

Integration
Memory without record Perceptual Dispositional Horizontal association Taxon Semantic Reference

Brain regions associated with human amnesia


Diencephalic amnesia - damage to the medial thalamus and mamillary nuclei
Medial temporal lobe amnesia - damage to the hippocampal formation, uncus, amygdala, and surrounding cortical areas

Brain regions associated with human amnesia


Diencephalic amnesia - damage to the medial thalamus and mamillary nuclei
Medial temporal lobe amnesia - damage to the hippocampal formation, uncus, amygdala, and surrounding cortical areas

Diencephalic Amnesia
Damage to the medial thalamus and/or mamillary bodies
stroke

Korsakoffs syndrome
Caused by thiamine deficiency as a result of chronic alcoholism

Korsakoffs symptoms
Anterograde amnesia Retrograde amnesia
Covers most of the adult life

Lack of insight
Typically unaware of memory problems

Confabulation
Patient makes up stories to fill in the past

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Medial Temporal lobe amnesia


Hippocampus is most important site of damage

Case H.M.
Epileptic patient
Had medial temporal lobes removed to stop seizures Seizures were reduced but H.M. became severely amnesiac.

Case H.M.
His intelligence is above normal
IQ = 112

Performs normally on all tests of short-term memory Selective long-term memory impairment

Case H.M.
Control brain H.M.

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Case H.M.
Memory impairment for recent events
spans the 3 years prior to his surgery

Capable of recalling childhood memories Anterograde amnesia was initially thought to be global (all types of memory) later discovered that certain types of learning are intact
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Case H.M.
Grave memory impairment for recent events
spans the 3 years prior to his surgery

Capable of recalling childhood memories Anterograde amnesia was initially thought to be global (all types of memory) later discovered that certain types of learning are intact

Case H.M.
Priming still works
H.M. can still form procedural memories

Case H.M.
The Gollin incomplete picture test
subjects asked to identify the object pictures are shown in sequence from least to most clear shown the same images at a later date both amnesiacs and control subjects identify the object at an earlier stage
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Case H.M.
Mirror drawing task.
Trace figure while looking in a mirror Control subjects get better at this with repetitive training.

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Case H.M.
Mirror drawing task
number of errors per attempt

H.M. improved with repeated training. Procedural memory is intact He cannot recall ever having performed this task before

40 30 20 10 0

Day 1

Day 2

Day3

Attempts each day

Case H.M.
Doesnt remember the death of his father Cant remember or describe his job Doesnt remember his examiners

Case H.M.
According to our memory dichotomies, what type of memory is the medial temporal lobe (especially the hippocampus) responsible for?

Types of memory

Case H.M.
H.M.s Retrograde amnesia is temporally graded
remote memory is spared but recent memory is lost

Not all amnesia patients show this pattern


V.C., N.A. have extensive retrograde amnesia (flat gradient)
Memory recall ability

recall performance

H.M. Control N.A.

Recent Age of memory

Remote

Lessons from amnesia


Existence of Multiple memory systems
Localization of cognitive functions

S.
Photographic extreme memory ability (a mnemonist) Able to recall complex test stimuli

S.
Photographic extreme memory ability (a mnemonist) Able to recall complex test stimuli S. used two strategies or abilities typical of mnemonists:
rich synesthesia-like quality to his perception of stimuli - leads to stronger associative links vivid and elaborate mental imagery of things he should remember

S.
Even numbers remind me of images. Take the number 1. This is a proud, wellbuilt man; 2 is a high-spirited woman; 3 a gloomy person (shy, I dont Know); 6 a man with a swollen foot...
Luria, A.R. The mind of a mnemonist. 1968 Luria, A.R. The man with a shattered world. 1972