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J Neurosci. 2004 Feb 18;24(7):1612-6.

Material-specific recognition memory deficits elicited by unilateral hippocampal electrical stimulation.

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Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, King's College Hospital, London, SE5 9RS, United Kingdom.


Although the medial temporal lobe is thought to be critical for recognition memory (RM), the specific role of the hippocampus in RM remains uncertain. We investigated the effects of transient unilateral hippocampal electrical stimulation (ES), subthreshold for afterdischarge, on delayed item RM in epilepsy patients implanted with bilateral hippocampal depth electrodes. RM was assessed using a novel computer-controlled test paradigm in which ES to left or right hippocampus was either absent (baseline) or synchronized with item presentation. Subsequent yes-no RM performance revealed a double dissociation between material-specific RM and the lateralization of ES. Left hippocampal ES produced word RM deficits, whereas right hippocampal ES produced face RM deficits. Our findings provide the first demonstration in humans that selective unilateral stimulation-induced hippocampal disruption is sufficient to produce impairments on delayed RM tasks and provide support for the material-specific laterality of hippocampal function with respect to RM.

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