Memory For Remote Events in Chronic Alcoholics and Alcoholic Korsakoff Patients

  • Marilyn S. Albert
  • Nelson Butters
  • Judith Levin
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 126)


In 1971, Ryback postulated a continuum of cognitive impainient related to alcohol abuse that encompassed heavy social drinkers, long-term alcoholics, and alcoholics with Korsakoff’s syndrome. Since the publication of this paper, several investigations have demonstrated that some of the cognitive and memory deficits characteristic of alcoholic Korsakoff patients are also apparent in detoxified chronic alcoholics. Like Korsakoff patients, chronic alcoholics are impaired on digit-symbol substitution tasks (Glosser, Butters and Kaplan, 1977; Kapur and Butters, 1977; Butters, Cermak, Adinolfi and Montgomery, 1977), the identification of embedded figures (Glosser et al., 1977; Kapur and Butters, 1977), and on concept formation tasks (Tarter and Parsons, 1971; Oscar-Berman, 1973). In the previous chapter of this book, Ryan, Butters and their associates have shown that detoxified alcoholics have short-term memory and learning problems that parallel those of the Korsakoff patients. Missing from all of these comparisons, however, has been the assessment of the patients’ retrograde amnesia. It is well known that alcoholic Korsakoffs have great difficulty recalling events prior to the onset of their illness, but the processes underlying this loss of remote memories and its prevalence among non-Korsakoff alcoholics are unknown.


Chronic Alcoholic Retrograde Amnesia Remote Memory Anterograde Amnesia Amnesic Patient 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marilyn S. Albert
    • 1
  • Nelson Butters
    • 1
  • Judith Levin
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology Service, Boston VA Hospital and Aphasia Research CenterBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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