Recovery of components of memory in post-traumatic amnesia

Faculty of Science, School of Psychological Science, Technology and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Brain Injury (Impact Factor: 1.81). 12/2006; 20(12):1241-9. DOI: 10.1080/02699050601049874
Source: PubMed


Post-traumatic amnesia by definition indicates significant impairment of new learning ability, however very few studies have, examined the natural history and resolution of memory and new learning during PTA. Those studies which have, tended to examine orientation separately from the memory processes required to achieve orientation. Analysis of the order of recovery of the items of the Westmead PTA scale was used to examine recovery of memory and new learning capacity.
The results of daily assessment of 34 patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) on the Westmead PTA scale were analysed for order of recovery.
The pattern of rank order of item recovery indicated that Date of Birth recovered consistently first. There was variability in the remaining items, however items reflecting long-term memory tended to recover second and items reflecting simple new learning followed. Recall of all three pictures reflecting complex new learning recovered last.
The pattern of recovery of memory and new learning during PTA reflects a number of complex, inter-related variables including; the familiarity with the information, amount of rehearsal both before and since the accident and the number of cues available in the environment.

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    • "Bleuler (1923) suspected that orientation depended on memory, perception, and attention but further speculated on an independent function of orientation whose disturbance would not be proportional to these three mental domains. More recent authors attributed disorientation to the combination of anterograde amnesia and retrograde amnesia (Benton et al., 1964; Daniel et al., 1987; High et al., 1990; Tate et al., 2000): orientation to person was considered dependent on autobiographical memory while orientation to time and place was thought to depend on consolidation of new memories and on the capacity to update memory about time or location (High et al., 1990; Leach, Kinsella, Jackson, & Matyas, 2006). Attentional processes were also considered important for disorientation (Tittle & Burgess, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Disorientation is frequent after brain damage. It is a constituent component of post-traumatic amnesia and was part of the original definition of the Korsakoff syndrome, together with amnesia and confabulations. Orbitofrontal reality filtering is a pre-conscious memory control process that has been held accountable for disorientation and a specific type of confabulations that patients act upon. A recent study questioned the specificity of this process and suggested that confabulating patients who failed in orbitofrontal reality filtering similarly failed to monitor the precise content of memories, a critical step within the strategic retrieval account, which describes a series of processes leading up to the recollection of memories. In the present study we combined the proposed experimental requirements of both processes in a single continuous recognition task and tested a group of 21 patients with a matched deficit of delayed free recall. We found that only deficient reality filtering, but not content monitoring, significantly correlated with disorientation and distinguished between confabulators and non-confabulators. Thus, reality confusion, as evident in disorientation and behaviourally spontaneous confabulation, primarily reflects an inability to monitor memories' relation with ongoing reality rather than to monitor their precise content.
    Cortex 08/2013; 49(10). DOI:10.1016/j.cortex.2013.07.014 · 5.13 Impact Factor

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