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Rev Neurol (Paris). 2008 May;164 Suppl 3:S114-8. doi: 10.1016/S0035-3787(08)73301-0.

[Knowing without remembering: the contribution of developmental amnesia].

[Article in French]

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Service de Neurologie, hôpital de Bellevue, CHU de Saint Etienne, Boulevard Pasteur, 42055 saint Etienne cedex, France.


The organization of episodic and semantic memory is currently debated, and especially the rule of the hippocampus in the functioning of these two systems. Since theories derived from the observation of the famous patient HM, that highlighted the involvement of this structure in these two systems, numerous studies questioned the implication of the hippocampus in learning a new semantic knowledge. Among these studies, we found Vargha-Kadem's cases of developmental amnesia. In spite of their clear hippocampal atrophy and a massive impairment of episodic memory, these children were able to acquire de novo new semantic knowledge. In the present paper, we describe a new case of developmental amnesia characteristic of this syndrome. In conclusion, the whole published data question the implication of the hippocampus in every semantic learning and suggest the existence of a neocortical network, slower and that needs more exposures to semantic stimuli than the hippocampal one, which can supply a massive hippocampal impairment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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