Thalamic contributions to anterograde, retrograde, and implicit memory: a case study.

VA Rehabilitation R&D Center of Excellence for Aging Veterans with Vision Loss, Atlanta, GA, USA.
The Clinical Neuropsychologist (Impact Factor: 1.68). 07/2009; 23(7):1232-49. DOI: 10.1080/13854040902936679
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Learning and memory deficits are typically associated with damage or dysfunction of medial temporal lobe structures; however, diencephalic lesions are another common cause of severe and persistent memory deficits. We focus specifically on the thalamus and review the pathological and neuropsychological characteristics of two common causes of such damage: Korsakoff's syndrome and stroke. We then present a patient who had sustained bilateral medial thalamic infarctions that affected the medial dorsal nucleus and internal medullary lamina. This patient demonstrated the characteristic temporally graded retrograde amnesia and a profound anterograde memory (i.e., explicit memory) deficit within the context of relatively preserved implicit memory. Implications of this explicit-implicit discrepancy are discussed within the context of cognitive rehabilitation techniques that hold promise for more severely impaired patients.

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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Injury of the mammillothalamic tract (MTT) has been suggested as one of the plausible pathogenic mechanisms of memory impairment in patients with thalamic hemorrhage; however, it has not been clearly demonstrated so far. We attempted to investigate whether injury of the MTT documented by diffusion tensor tractography following thalamic hemorrhage correlates with cognitive impairment. Methods: We recruited 22 patients with a thalamic hemorrhage and 20 control subjects. MTTs were reconstructed using the probabilistic tractography method. Patients were classified into two subgroups: reconstructed group, patients whose MTT was reconstructed in the affected hemisphere, and non-reconstructed group, patients whose MTT was not reconstructed. Results: Mammillothalamic tract was reconstructed in 5 (22.7%, reconstructed group) patients in the affected hemisphere and was not reconstructed in the remaining 17 patients (77.3%, non-reconstructed group). In addition, the MTT was not reconstructed even in the unaffected hemisphere in four patients (23.5%) in non-reconstructed group. Fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity values of the affected hemisphere in reconstructed group also did not show significant differences from those in the unaffected hemisphere of reconstructed group and the control group (p > 0.05). However, the tract volume of the affected hemisphere in reconstructed group was significantly lower than that of the unaffected hemisphere in reconstructed group and the control group (p < 0.05). Conclusion: A large portion of patients with thalamic hemorrhage appeared to suffer severe injury of the ipsilesional MTT (77.3%) and 18.2% of them appeared to suffer severe injury even in the contralesional MTT. In addition, the remaining 22.7% of patients who had preserved integrity of the ipsilesional MTT appeared to suffer partial injury of the ipsilesional MTT.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:259. · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Effects of thalamic nuclei damage and related white matter tracts on memory performance are still debated. This is particularly evident for the medio-dorsal thalamus which has been less clear in predicting amnesia than anterior thalamus changes. The current study addresses this issue by assessing 7 thalamic stroke patients with consistent unilateral lesions focal to the left medio-dorsal nuclei for immediate and delayed memory performance on standard visual and verbal tests of anterograde memory, and over the long-term (>24 h) on an object-location associative memory task. Thalamic patients showed selective impairment to delayed recall, but intact recognition memory. Patients also showed accelerated forgetting of contextual details after a 24 h delay, compared to controls. Importantly, the mammillothalamic tract was intact in all patients, which suggests a role for the medio-dorsal nuclei in recall and early consolidation memory processes.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:320. · 4.76 Impact Factor