When “long-term memory” no longer means “forever”: analysis of accelerated long-term forgetting in a patient with temporal lobe epilepsy

Article


Jansari, A., Davis, Kavus, McGibbon, Terence, Firminger, Stephanie and Kapur, Narinder 2010. When “long-term memory” no longer means “forever”: analysis of accelerated long-term forgetting in a patient with temporal lobe epilepsy. Neuropsychologia. 48 (6), pp. 1707-1715.
AuthorsJansari, A., Davis, Kavus, McGibbon, Terence, Firminger, Stephanie and Kapur, Narinder
Abstract

Classical amnesia involves a difficulty in transferring information to long-term memory and can be detected with standard clinical tests. However, there are some patients who pass these tests but nonetheless show longer-term memory impairments. A case study is presented of a patient, RY, with temporal lobe epilepsy, who exhibited such a profile of “accelerated long-term forgetting”. To investigate the effect of recalling information on later retention, recall and recognition for pairs of novel stories were tested at five intervals ranging from 30 min to 4 weeks; we also manipulated whether or not recall and recognition were repeatedly tested for stories. Two studies are reported, one before RY commenced treatment with anticonvulsant medication, and one following 6 months of treatment. Very similar memory profiles were observed in both settings. Against a background of above average cognitive function, results showed that RY's free recall, although initially average or above, was significantly impaired at extended delays (within 24 h) for non-repeatedly recalled episodic information. However, this contrasted with normal performance for information that had been repeatedly recalled. An unresolved issue in the field is the impact of anticonvulsant medication on alleviating long-term forgetting, and the current study shows that anticonvulsant medication can have negligible beneficial effects in improving the rate of long-term forgetting in this type of patient. In addition, our study highlights the possible protective effect of active review of recent episodic memories.

KeywordsAccelerated long-term forgetting; Long-term amnesia; Temporal lobe epilepsy; Medial temporal lobe; Recollection; Long-term memory
JournalNeuropsychologia
Journal citation48 (6), pp. 1707-1715
ISSN0028-3932
1873-3514
Year2010
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.02.018
http://hdl.handle.net/10552/845
Publication dates
PrintMay 2010
Publication process dates
Deposited08 Jul 2010
Additional information

Citation:
Jansari, AS; Davis, K; McGibbon, T; Firminger, S; Kapur N. (2010) ’ When "long-term memory" no longer means "forever": analysis of accelerated long-term forgetting in a patient with temporal lobe epilepsy.’ Neuropsychologia 48 (6) 1707-1715.

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