Focal retrograde amnesia: a long term clinical and neuropsychological follow-up

Cortex. 1989 Sep;25(3):387-402. doi: 10.1016/s0010-9452(89)80053-x.


A patient (E.D.) who had displayed a selective retrograde amnesia in association with transient amnesic episodes (Kapur et al., 1986) was reexamined five years after initial assessment. At the clinical level, his transient amnesic attacks continued, but some of these had clear epileptic features. In addition, EEG investigation indicated temporal lobe abnormality, more prominent in the left temporal region, and supported a clinical diagnosis of temporal lobe epilepsy. Both CT scanning and magnetic resonance imaging were unable to detect the presence of any structural lesion. At the neuropsychological level, there was no evidence of dementia in the form of generalized cognitive dysfunction nor significant deterioration in cognitive functioning since the earlier assessment. Our patient continued to show marked memory loss for public events over the past 20-30 years, in the context of normal or near normal performance on most tests of anterograde memory functioning. While memory for famous scenes and famous faces was markedly impaired, our patient's memory for famous cars was within normal limits and his memory for autobiographical events showed only patchy impairment. Although E.D. performed at an average or above average level on most standard tests of anterograde memory functioning, our patient did show evidence of significant memory loss for public events which had occurred over the past ten years (i.e. since the onset of his illness). The possibility is raised that E.D.'s memory disorder may represent a form of disconnection syndrome.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amnesia / psychology*
  • Amnesia, Retrograde / etiology
  • Amnesia, Retrograde / psychology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests