, Volume 235, Issue 6, pp 362-365

Structural brain correlates of anterograde memory deficits in multiple sclerosis

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Summary

Progressive decline of anterograde memory functions has been increasingly recognized as a frequent symptom in chronic multiple sclerosis. In order to investigate the brain structures involved, magnetic resonance imaging was performed in 20 patients. Neuropsychological assessment included the WAIS and WMS subtests information, picture completion, similarities, digit span, logical memory, and paired associate learning. All patients with severely impaired memory functions (n=5) showed bilateral lesions in the medial temporal lobe, whereas in those patients with moderate (n=10) or no measurable impairment of memory testing (n=5) either no lesions were seen in the medial temporal lobes or these lesions were restricted to one side. A post hoc cluster analysis strikingly confirmed these results. The differences could not be related to the age of the patients, the disease duration, or the level of education. Extensive lesions in the white matter of the frontal lobes, thinning and lining of the corpus callosum, and bilateral involvement of the anterior cingulate gyrus had no bearing on the neuropsychological results. These findings indicate that bilateral demyelination in the hippocampal regions is the most likely explanation for the impairment of anterograde memory in such patients.

Presented in part at the 25th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Neuroradiology, New York, 10–15 May 1987