Permanent global amnesia: case report
Bertolucci, Paulo Henrique Ferreira [UNIFESP]
Siviero, Marilena Occhini [UNIFESP]
Bueno, Orlando Francisco Amodeo [UNIFESP]
Okamoto, Ivan Hideyo [UNIFESP]
Santos, R. F.
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Purpose: To present a case of permanent global amnesia related to hippocampal damage. Permanent global amnesia is a very rare condition of unknown etiology; lesions restricted to the hippocampus are uncommon, which hinders investigations of this pattern of memory loss. This case is unusually well documented, as the patient underwent extensive neuropsychological evaluations. Clinical features: A cheerful right-handed, 83-year-old retired electrician was first evaluated in 1990 for progressive difficulty in learning new information and in recalling events over the preceding 3-4 years. Tests over the next 5 years showed that the impairment was confined to episodic declarative memory. New verbal information could be stored only in episodic memory in a restricted manner, limited by short-term memory capacity. A relatively mild retrograde amnesia was detected. Semantic and implicit memory was spared, as were other functions evaluated. The patient's language and executive function were strikingly efficient. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain showed bilateral atrophy of the hippocampi and amygdalae, ruling out conditions such as tumour growth. A diagnosis of permanent global amnesia was made. In the ensuing years, the retrograde amnesia worsened, but no new deficits were identified. Conclusion: This case, the first with a detailed cognitive examination, is evidence of a relatively pure hippocampal pattern for memory loss in permanent global amnesia.
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