Evidence of multiple memory systems in the human brain: A [18F]FDG PET metabolic study

D. Perani, S. Bressi, S. F. Cappa, G. Vallar, M. Alberoni, F. Grassi, C. Caltagirone, L. Cipolotti, M. Franceschi, G. L. Lenzi, F. Fazio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with global amnesia of different aetiologies (n = 11), and patients with probable Alzheimer's disease of recent onset and mild to moderate severity (n = 18) underwent extensive neuropsychological examination, which included the evaluation of multiple components of memory, and a measurement of regional cerebral glucose metabolism with [18F]fluoro-deoxyglucose ([18F]FDG) and PET. In the neuropsychological tests, both global amnesia and Alzheimer's disease patients had impaired episodic long-term memory, while deficits of short-term, semantic and implicit memory were present only in Alzheimer's disease. When local metabolic rates for glucose were compared with values from age- and education-matched normal controls, a common pattern of bilateral hypometabolism was present in the hippocampus, cingulate and frontal basal cortex of both global amnesia and Alzheimer's disease patients. On the other hand, significant hypometabolism was found in the thalamus in only global amnesia, and in the frontal, parietal and temporal associative cortex in only Alzheimer's disease. The results of a multivariate regression analysis of test scores with metabolic data indicated that different clusters of cerebral areas were associated with each of the main components of memory function. These data are in agreement with 'neural network' models of the neural basis of cognition, according to which complex functions are subserved by multiple interconnected cortical and subcortical structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-919
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology


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