Severe amnesia following bilateral medial temporal lobe damage occurring on two distinct occasions
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- Di Gennaro, G., Grammaldo, L.G., Quarato, P.P. et al. Neurol Sci (2006) 27: 129. doi:10.1007/s10072-006-0614-y
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A comprehensive neuropsychological assessment was performed on a 38-year-old woman with drug-resistant right temporal lobe epilepsy before temporal lobectomy, during a 2-year follow-up period, and approximately 3 years after surgery when she developed a malignant glioma in the left medial temporal lobe (MTL). Both before and after epilepsy surgery, memory function was normal. When the tumour was discovered, the patient suffered from severe retrograde and anterograde amnesia, whereas working memory and the other cognitive abilities were preserved. Compared with other cases of bilateral temporal lesion, this case is peculiar because the damage occurred on two distinct occasions. It suggests that only one MTL can allow normal memory function, or can take over the function normally subserved by a dysfunctional contralateral MTL when the dysfunction is marked and prolonged, such as in chronic epilepsy.