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Mental Health - Neurological Disorders - Neuroscience - Radiology and Medical Imaging

MRI-Based Volumetry Correlates of Autobiographical Memory in Alzheimer's Disease
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Author: Nathalie Philippi et al.

by Nathalie Philippi, Vincent Noblet, Anne Botzung, Olivier Després, Félix Renard, Giorgos Sfikas, Benjamin Cretin, Stéphane Kremer, Lilianne Manning, Frédéric Blanc

The aim of the present volumetric study was to explore the neuro-anatomical correlates of autobiographical memory loss in Alzheimer's patients and healthy elderly, in terms of the delay of retention, with a particular interest in the medial temporal lobe structures. Fifteen patients in early stages of the disease and 11 matched control subjects were included in the study. To assess autobiographical memory and the effect of the retention delay, a modified version of the Crovitz test was used according to five periods of life. Autobiographical memory deficits were correlated to local atrophy via structural MRI using Voxel Based Morphometry. We used a ‘lateralized index’ to compare the relative contribution of hippocampal sub-regions (anterior vs posterior, left vs right) according to the different periods of life. Our results confirm the involvement of the hippocampus proper in autobiographical memory retrieval for both recent and very remote encoding periods, with larger aspect for the very remote period on the left side. Contrary to the prominent left-sided involvement for the young adulthood period, the implication of the right hippocampus prevails for the more recent periods and decreases with the remotness of the memories, which might be associated with the visuo-spatial processing of the memories. Finally, we suggest the existence of a rostrocaudal gradient depending on the retention duration, with left anterior aspects specifically related to retrieval deficits of remote memories from the young adulthood period, whereas posterior aspects would result of simultaneous encoding and/or consolidation and retrieval deficit of more recent memories.