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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

November 1999, Vol. 11, No. 6, Pages 682-697.
(doi: 10.1162/089892999563643)
© 1999 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Memory Lost and Regained Following Bilateral Hippocampal Damage
Article PDF (598.51 KB)

We present a longitudinal neuropsychological study (31 examinations over a period of 18 months) of patient DF. DF demonstrated bilateral atrophy of the hippocampal formation and globus pallidus resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning. Eighteen months after the event, the volume of the hippocampal formation was reduced by 42% on the left side and 28% on the right. The patient initially presented with a severe global amnesia. Then, he showed a gradual, yet selective recovery of episodic memory function. Verbal free recall and spatial memory performance remained reduced, whereas immediate word recall and recognition memory, as well as picture learning and memory, improved to levels at the lower range of normal performance. Interestingly, nonspatial associative learning was never much impaired and recovered completely by the end of testing. These data are taken as evidence that the human hippocampal formation does not equally support different forms of episodic memory.