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Publication Detail
Content-specific vulnerability of recent episodic memories in Alzheimer's disease
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Grande X, Berron D, Maass A, Bainbridge W, Düzel E
  • Publication date:
    17/09/2021
  • Journal:
    Neuropsychologia
  • Article number:
    107976
  • Status:
    Published
  • Country:
    England
  • PII:
    S0028-3932(21)00229-3
  • Language:
    English
  • Keywords:
    Alzheimer’s disease, episodic memory, medial temporal lobe, memorability, memory representations
  • Notes:
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Abstract
Endel Tulving's episodic memory framework emphasizes the multifaceted re-experiencing of personal events. Indeed, decades of research focused on the experiential nature of episodic memories, usually treating recent episodic memory as a coherent experiential quality. However, recent insights into the functional architecture of the medial temporal lobe show that different types of mnemonic information are segregated into distinct neural pathways in brain circuits empirically associated with episodic memory. Moreover, recent memories do not fade as a whole under conditions of progressive neurodegeneration in these brain circuits, notably in Alzheimer's disease. Instead, certain memory contents seem particularly vulnerable from the moment of their encoding while others can remain memorable consistently across individuals and contexts. We propose that these observations are related to the content-specific functional architecture of the medial temporal lobe and consequently to a content-specific impairment of memory at different stages of the neurodegeneration. To develop Endel Tulving's inspirational legacy further and to advance our understanding of how memory function is affected by neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, we postulate that it is compelling to focus on the representational content of recent episodic memories.
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