Impaired episodic memory retrieval in a case of probable psychogenic amnesia

Psychiatry Res. 1997 May 16;74(2):119-26. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4927(97)03041-2.


A patient with severe, selective retrograde amnesia for personal material diagnosed as probable psychogenic amnesia, was investigated intensively neuropsychologically with cranial computed tomography (CCT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and single photon emission tomography (SPECT). The patient was of average intelligence and memory with no anterograde amnesia. No evidence for structural brain damage was detected in CCT and MRI. SPECT, performed about 3 weeks after the onset of symptoms, demonstrated reduced perfusion in right temporal and frontal areas, that is, in areas which have been suggested as critical for episodic memory retrieval. To study episodic memory retrieval, positron-emission-tomography (PET) blood flow (rCBF) measurements were performed 6 months after the onset of symptoms. During episodic memory retrieval bilateral neuronal activations were observed in the precuneus, the lateral parietal and the right dorsolateral and polar prefrontal cortex. Compared to the results of previous functional imaging studies on episodic memory retrieval, our findings suggest an underlying functional disturbance of brain areas previously demonstrated to be involved in episodic memory retrieval.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amnesia, Retrograde / diagnosis*
  • Amnesia, Retrograde / physiopathology
  • Amnesia, Retrograde / psychology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / physiopathology
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology