Brain structural, functional, and cognitive correlates of recent versus remote autobiographical memories in amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment.
ABSTRACT: Deficits in autobiographical memory appear earlier for recent than for remote life periods over the course of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The present study aims to further our understanding of this graded effect by investigating the cognitive and neural substrates of recent versus remote autobiographical memories in patients with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI) thanks to an autobiographical fluency task. 20 aMCI patients and 25 Healthy elderly Controls (HC) underwent neuropsychological tests assessing remote (20-to-30 years old) and recent (the ten last years) autobiographical memory as well as episodic and semantic memory, executive function and global cognition. All patients also had a structural MRI and an FDG-PET scan. Correlations were assessed between each autobiographical memory score and the other tests as well as grey matter volume and metabolism. Within the aMCI, performances for the remote period correlated with personal semantic memory and episodic memory retrieval whereas performances for the recent period only correlated with episodic memory retrieval. Neuroimaging analyses revealed significant correlations between performances for the remote period and temporal pole and temporo-parietal cortex volumes and anterior cingulate gyrus metabolism, while performances for the recent period correlated with hippocampal volume and posterior cingulate, medial prefrontal and hippocampus metabolism. The brain regions related with the retrieval of events from the recent period showed greater atrophy/hypometabolism in aMCI patients compared to HC than those involved in remote memories. Recall of recent memories essentially relies on episodic memory processes and brain network while remote memories also involve other processes such as semantic memory. This is consistent with the semanticization of memories with time and may explain the better resistance of remote memory in AD.
Project description:Autobiographical memory in amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI) is characterized by impaired retrieval of episodic memories, but relatively preserved personal semantic knowledge. This study aimed to identify (via FDG-PET) the neural substrates of impaired episodic specificity of autobiographical memories in 35 aMCI patients compared with 24 healthy elderly controls. Significant correlations between regional cerebral activity and the proportion of episodic details in autobiographical memories from two life periods were found in specific regions of an autobiographical brain network. In aMCI patients, more than in controls, specifically episodic memories from early adulthood were associated with metabolic activity in the cuneus and in parietal regions. We hypothesized that variable retrieval of episodic autobiographical memories in our aMCI patients would be related to their variable capacity to reactivate specific sensory-perceptual and contextual details of early adulthood events linked to reduced (occipito-parietal) visual imagery and less efficient (parietal) attentional processes. For recent memories (last year), a correlation emerged between the proportion of episodic details and activity in lateral temporal regions and the temporo-parietal junction. Accordingly, variable episodic memory for recent events may be related to the efficiency of controlled search through general events likely to provide cues for the retrieval of episodic details and to the ability to establish a self perspective favouring recollection.
Project description:Episodic memory refers to a complex and multifaceted process which enables the retrieval of richly detailed evocative memories from the past. In contrast, semantic memory is conceptualized as the retrieval of general conceptual knowledge divested of a specific spatiotemporal context. The neural substrates of the episodic and semantic memory systems have been dissociated in healthy individuals during functional imaging studies, and in clinical cohorts, leading to the prevailing view that episodic and semantic memory represent functionally distinct systems subtended by discrete neurobiological substrates. Importantly, however, converging evidence focusing on widespread neural networks now points to significant overlap between those regions essential for retrieval of autobiographical memories, episodic learning, and semantic processing. Here we review recent advances in episodic memory research focusing on neurodegenerative populations which has proved revelatory for our understanding of the complex interplay between episodic and semantic memory. Whereas episodic memory research has traditionally focused on retrieval of autobiographical events from the past, we also include evidence from the recent paradigm shift in which episodic memory is viewed as an adaptive and constructive process which facilitates the imagining of possible events in the future. We examine the available evidence which converges to highlight the pivotal role of semantic memory in providing schemas and meaning whether one is engaged in autobiographical retrieval for the past, or indeed, is endeavoring to construct a plausible scenario of an event in the future. It therefore seems plausible to contend that semantic processing may underlie most, if not all, forms of episodic memory, irrespective of temporal condition.
Project description:Neocortical-hippocampal interactions support new episodic (event) memories, but there is conflicting evidence about the dependence of remote episodic memories on the hippocampus. In line with systems consolidation and computational theories of episodic memory, evidence from model organisms suggests that the cornu ammonis 3 (CA3) hippocampal subfield supports recent, but not remote, episodic retrieval. In this study, we demonstrated that recent and remote memories were susceptible to a loss of episodic detail in human participants with focal bilateral damage to CA3. Graph theoretic analyses of 7.0-Tesla resting-state fMRI data revealed that CA3 damage disrupted functional integration across the medial temporal lobe (MTL) subsystem of the default network. The loss of functional integration in MTL subsystem regions was predictive of autobiographical episodic retrieval performance. We conclude that human CA3 is necessary for the retrieval of episodic memories long after their initial acquisition and functional integration of the default network is important for autobiographical episodic memory performance.
Project description:The capacity to remember self-referential past events relies on the integrity of a distributed neural network. Controversy exists, however, regarding the involvement of specific brain structures for the retrieval of recently experienced versus more distant events. Here, we explored how characteristic patterns of atrophy in neurodegenerative disorders differentially disrupt remote versus recent autobiographical memory. Eleven behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia, 10 semantic dementia, 15 Alzheimer's disease patients and 14 healthy older Controls completed the Autobiographical Interview. All patient groups displayed significant remote memory impairments relative to Controls. Similarly, recent period retrieval was significantly compromised in behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease, yet semantic dementia patients scored in line with Controls. Voxel-based morphometry and diffusion tensor imaging analyses, for all participants combined, were conducted to investigate grey and white matter correlates of remote and recent autobiographical memory retrieval. Neural correlates common to both recent and remote time periods were identified, including the hippocampus, medial prefrontal, and frontopolar cortices, and the forceps minor and left hippocampal portion of the cingulum bundle. Regions exclusively implicated in each time period were also identified. The integrity of the anterior temporal cortices was related to the retrieval of remote memories, whereas the posterior cingulate cortex emerged as a structure significantly associated with recent autobiographical memory retrieval. This study represents the first investigation of the grey and white matter correlates of remote and recent autobiographical memory retrieval in neurodegenerative disorders. Our findings demonstrate the importance of core brain structures, including the medial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, irrespective of time period, and point towards the contribution of discrete regions in mediating successful retrieval of distant versus recently experienced events.
Project description:The role of the hippocampus in declarative memory consolidation is a matter of intense debate. We investigated the neural substrates of memory retrieval for recent and remote information using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). 18 young, healthy participants learned a series of pictures. Then, during two fMRI recognition sessions, 3 days and 3 months later, they had to determine whether they recognized or not each picture using the "Remember/Know" procedure. Presentation of the same learned images at both delays allowed us to track the evolution of memories and distinguish consistently episodic memories from those that were initially episodic and then became familiar or semantic over time and were retrieved without any contextual detail. Hippocampal activation decreased over time for initially episodic, later semantic memories, but remained stable for consistently episodic ones, at least in its posterior part. For both types of memories, neocortical activations were observed at both delays, notably in the ventromedial prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices. These activations may reflect a gradual reorganization of memory traces within neural networks. Our data indicate maintenance and strengthening of hippocampal and cortico-cortical connections in the consolidation and retrieval of episodic memories over time, in line with the Multiple Trace theory (Nadel and Moscovitch, 1997). At variance, memories becoming semantic over time consolidate through strengthening of cortico-cortical connections and progressive disengagement of the hippocampus.
Project description:Autobiographical remembering can depend on two forms of memory: episodic (event) memory and autobiographical semantic memory (remembering personally relevant semantic knowledge, independent of recalling a specific experience). There is debate about the degree to which the neural signals that support episodic recollection relate to or build upon autobiographical semantic remembering. Pooling data from two fMRI studies of memory for real-world personal events, we investigated whether medial temporal lobe (MTL) and parietal subregions contribute to autobiographical episodic and semantic remembering. During scanning, participants made memory judgments about photograph sequences depicting past events from their life or from others' lives, and indicated whether memory was based on episodic or semantic knowledge. Results revealed several distinct functional patterns: activity in most MTL subregions was selectively associated with autobiographical episodic memory; the hippocampal tail, superior parietal lobule, and intraparietal sulcus were similarly engaged when memory was based on retrieval of an autobiographical episode or autobiographical semantic knowledge; and angular gyrus demonstrated a graded pattern, with activity declining from autobiographical recollection to autobiographical semantic remembering to correct rejections of novel events. Collectively, our data offer insights into MTL and parietal cortex functional organization, and elucidate circuitry that supports different forms of real-world autobiographical memory.
Project description:Hippocampal ripples are prominent synchronization events generated by hippocampal neuronal assemblies. To date, ripples have been primarily associated with navigational memory in rodents and short-term episodic recollections in humans. Here, we uncover different profiles of ripple activity in the human hippocampus during the retrieval of recent and remote autobiographical events and semantic facts. We found that the ripple rate increased significantly before reported recall compared to control conditions. Patterns of ripple activity across multiple hippocampal sites demonstrated remarkable specificity for memory type. Intriguingly, these ripple patterns revealed a semantization dimension, in which patterns associated with autobiographical contents become similar to those of semantic memory as a function of memory age. Finally, widely distributed sites across the neocortex exhibited ripple-coupled activations during recollection, with the strongest activation found within the default mode network. Our results thus reveal a key role for hippocampal ripples in orchestrating hippocampal-cortical communication across large-scale networks involved in conscious recollection.
Project description:Autobiographical memory (AM) underlies the formation and temporal continuity over time of personal identity. The few studies on sex-related differences in AM suggest that men and women adopt different cognitive or emotional strategies when retrieving AMs. However, none of the previous works has taken into account the distinction between episodic autobiographical memory (EAM), consisting in the retrieval of specific events by means of mental time travel, and semantic autobiographical memory (SAM), which stores general personal events. Thus, it remains unclear whether differences in these strategies depend on the nature of the memory content to be retrieved. In the present study we employed functional MRI to examine brain activity underlying potential sex differences in EAM and SAM retrieval focusing on the differences in strategies related to the emotional aspects of memories while controlling for basic cognitive strategies. On the behavioral level, there was no significant sex difference in memory performances or subjective feature ratings of either type of AM. Activations common to men and women during AM retrieval were observed in a typical bilateral network comprising medial and lateral temporal regions, precuneus, occipital cortex as well as prefrontal cortex. Contrast analyses revealed that there was no difference between men and women in the EAM condition. In the SAM condition, women showed an increased activity, compared to men, in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, inferior parietal and precentral gyrus. Overall, these findings suggest that differential neural activations reflect sex-specific strategies related to emotional aspects of AMs, particularly regarding SAM. We propose that this pattern of activation during SAM retrieval reflects the cognitive cost linked to emotion regulation strategies recruited by women compared to men. These sex-related differences have interesting implications for understanding psychiatric disorders with differential sex prevalence and in which one of key features is overgenerality in AM.
Project description:Specific odors can induce memories of the past, especially those associated with autobiographical and episodic memory. Odors associated with autobiographical memories have been found to elicit stronger activation in the orbitofrontal cortex, hippocampus, and parahippocampus compared with odors not linked to personal memories. Here, we examined whether continuous odor stimuli associated with autobiographical memories could activate the above olfactory areas in older adults and speculated regarding whether this odor stimulation could have a protective effect against age-related cognitive decline. Specifically, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the relationship between blood oxygen levels in olfactory regions and odor-induced subjective memory retrieval and emotions associated with autobiographical memory in older adults. In our group of healthy older adults, the tested odors induced autobiographical memories that were accompanied by increasing levels of retrieval and the feeling of being "brought back in time." The strength of the subjective feelings, including vividness of the memory and degree of comfort, impacted activation of the left fusiform gyrus and left posterior orbitofrontal cortex. Further, our path model suggested that the strength of memory retrieval and of the emotions induced by odor-evoked autobiographical memories directly influenced neural changes in the left fusiform gyrus, and impacted left posterior orbitofrontal cortex activation through the left fusiform response.
Project description:Our understanding of the human default mode network derives primarily from neuroimaging data but its electrophysiological correlates remain largely unexplored. To address this limitation, we recorded intracranially from the human posteromedial cortex (PMC), a core structure of the default mode network, during various conditions of internally directed (e.g., autobiographical memory) as opposed to externally directed focus (e.g., arithmetic calculation). We observed late-onset (>400 ms) increases in broad high ?-power (70-180 Hz) within PMC subregions during memory retrieval. High ?-power was significantly reduced or absent when subjects retrieved self-referential semantic memories or responded to self-judgment statements, respectively. Conversely, a significant deactivation of high ?-power was observed during arithmetic calculation, the duration of which correlated with reaction time at the signal-trial level. Strikingly, at each recording site, the magnitude of activation during episodic autobiographical memory retrieval predicted the degree of suppression during arithmetic calculation. These findings provide important anatomical and temporal details-at the neural population level-of PMC engagement during autobiographical memory retrieval and address how the same populations are actively suppressed during tasks, such as numerical processing, which require externally directed attention.