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Neuropsychologia. 1996 Jan;34(1):1-8.

Anterograde but not retrograde memory loss following combined mammillary body and medial thalamic lesions.

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Wessex Neurological Centre, Southampton General Hospital, U.K.


We report the first human case of combined mammillary body and medial thalamic lesions due to focal pathology. A patient presented with a multi-lobular lesion that affected the mammillary bodies, the medial thalamus and the brain stem. On neuropsychological testing, he showed significant anterograde memory impairment, with marked impairment on delayed story recall, but normal or only mildly impaired performance on retrograde memory tasks. Our findings corroborate the results of recent non-human lesion studies and indicate that some of the well-established features of the amnesic syndrome, such as severe retrograde amnesia, may not be due to primary diencephalic pathology. Significant retrograde amnesia may result from cortical pathology or from an interaction between cortical and subcortical pathology.

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