Memory failure has different mechanisms in subcortical stroke and Alzheimer's disease

Bruce R Reed, J. L. Eberling, Dan M Mungas, M. W. Weiner, W. J. Jagust

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65 Scopus citations


Patients with extensive subcortical cerebrovascular disease may have impaired memory, often despite the absence of medial temporal or diencephalic strokes. In this group, episodic memory failure may arise from frontal lobe dysfunction based on disruption of frontosubcortical loops caused by lacunae. We tested this idea by studying cognitively impaired subcortical stroke (CIS) patients and Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients with [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography using a continuous verbal memory task during the period of tracer uptake. Patients were matched on severity of cognitive impairment and overall memory task performance. As hypothesized, we found a double dissociation in the relations between metabolism and memory in these groups, such that memory in CIS (but not in AD) correlates with prefrontal lobe metabolism, whereas in AD (but not in CIS), memory correlates with left hippocampal and temporal lobe metabolism. Analysis of memory subscores showed that CIS patients made more errors on short-delay trials, which is consistent with working memory failure. It seems that different pathogenic mechanisms underlie episodic memory failure in subcortical cerebrovascular disease and AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-284
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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