Long-term neuropsychological, neuroanatomical, and life outcome in hippocampal amnesia

David E. Warren, Melissa C. Duff, Vincent Magnotta, Aristides A. Capizzano, Martin D. Cassell, Daniel Tranel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Focal bilateral hippocampal damage typically causes severe and selective amnesia for new declarative information (facts and events), a cognitive deficit that greatly impacts the ability to live a normal, fully independent life. We describe the case of 1846, a 48-year-old woman with profound hippocampal amnesia following status epilepticus and an associated anoxic episode at age 30. Patient 1846 has undergone extensive neuropsychological testing on many occasions over the 18 years since her injury, and we present data indicating that her memory impairment has remained severe and stable during that time. New, high-resolution, structural MRI studies of 1846's brain reveal substantial bilateral hippocampal atrophy resembling that of other well-known amnesic patients. In spite of severe amnesia 1846 lives a full and mostly independent adult life, facilitated by an extensive social support network of family and friends. Her case provides an example of a rare and unlikely positive outcome in the face of severe memory problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-369
Number of pages35
JournalClinical Neuropsychologist
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

Keywords

  • Amnesia
  • Anoxia
  • Hippocampus
  • Medial temporal lobe
  • Memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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