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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Mar 15;91(6):2012-5.

Neuroanatomical correlates of retrieval in episodic memory: auditory sentence recognition.

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  • 1Rotman Research Institute of Baycrest Centre, North York, ON, Canada.


This study used positron emission tomography (PET) to investigate the neuroanatomical correlates of remembering previously experienced events. Twelve young healthy adults listened to "old" meaningful sentences which they had studied 24 hr previously. As a control task the subjects listened to comparable "new" sentences that they had never heard before. Regional cerebral blood flow associated with each task was measured by PET scans using 15O-labeled water. Comparison (old-sentence task minus new-sentence task) of the PET images revealed an extended strip of increased blood flow in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann's areas 10, 46, and 9) and the anterior portion of area 6. Other principal regions of increased blood flow were situated around the left anterior cingulate sulcus and bilaterally in the parietal lobes (areas 7 and 40). Major decreases in blood flow were situated bilaterally in the temporal lobes (areas 21, 22, 41, and 42). A high proportion of activity changes seemed to be located in the depths of cortical sulci. Increases in blood flow are seen as reflecting the operations of a widely distributed neuronal network involving prefrontal and parietal cortical regions that subserves the conscious recollection of previously experienced events. Decreases in blood flow in the temporal auditory areas are interpreted as reflecting auditory priming. The prevalence of sulcal blood-flow changes may reflect extensive cortical gyrification; it may also indicate that memory-related processes rely on the densely packed neuropil of sulcal regions.

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