Can amnesia be caused by damage of a single brain structure?

Cortex. 1984 Mar;20(1):27-45. doi: 10.1016/s0010-9452(84)80021-0.


The relation of amnesia and damage to some particular brain regions is discussed by reviewing the main findings of selected human case reports. It is argued that frequently a too straightforward and unidimensional interpretation of the relations between brain damage and a behavioral deficit is formulated in such reports. Evidence obtained by modern anatomical techniques as well as the widespread and time-dependent effects of lesions make it necessary to consider a lesion of a particular structure of the brain and correlated mnemonic disturbances as possibly due to an altered equilibrium in an extensive network of the brain. The primary lesion of one or the other specific structure may lead to severe and lasting amnesia or may fail to do so depending on its influence on other brain regions.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amnesia / physiopathology*
  • Amygdala / physiopathology
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mammillary Bodies / physiopathology
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Thalamus / physiopathology