A deficit of declarative memory is a common sequela after a hypoxic episode. While the role of gray matter changes (i.e., atrophy of hippocampal formation) as mainly responsible for memory loss has been emphasized, the role of the white matter damage has so far been neglected. The present study was aimed at evaluating whether white matter damage, within the neural circuitry responsible for declarative memory functioning, is present in anoxic patients. We assessed, by means of voxel-based morphometry, the integrity of white matter regions in five patients with hypoxic amnesia. When anoxic patients were compared to healthy controls, significantly less white matter density was detected in the fornix, anterior portion of the cingulum bundle and uncinate fasciculus bilaterally. We conclude that cerebral hypoxia may alter, together with the hippocampi, the integrity of white matter fibers throughout the memory-limbic system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology