Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 110, Issue 5, pp 537–543

Preserved memory traces within diencephalic amnesia


  • P. Walla
    •  Department of Clinical Neurology, and
  • J. P. Lehrner
    •  Department of Clinical Neurology, and
  • C. Nasel
    •  Department of Clinical Radiodiagnostics, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  • C. Baumgartner
    •  Department of Clinical Neurology, and
  • L. Deecke
    •  Department of Clinical Neurology, and
  • W. Lang
    •  Department of Clinical Neurology, and

DOI: 10.1007/s00702-002-0806-4

Cite this article as:
Walla, P., Lehrner, J., Nasel, C. et al. J Neural Transm (2003) 110: 537. doi:10.1007/s00702-002-0806-4


A male patient with bilateral thalamic lesions (medio-ventral nuclei) was investigated. Despite explicit memory impairments his lexical ability was normal. We recorded magnetic field changes (magnetoencephalography, MEG) during the performance of an animate/inanimate discrimination task in which some words where repeated after long delays. Normally, repeated items are classified significantly faster than their first presentations which is accomplished by an unconscious process called priming. The patient did not show any behavioural evidence of priming but the physiological data indicated preservation of this robust form of memory. Brain activation associated with repetitions was attenuated at early stages. The activity difference was posteriorly distributed which is consistent with previous reports about repetition priming. The present study indicated that the bilateral thalamic lesions of our patient disconnected the information processing stream between the primed information and the behavioural response.

Keywords: Thalamic lesionamnesiarepetition primingmagnetoencephalography.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2003