Accelerated long-term forgetting is not epilepsy specific: evidence from childhood traumatic brain injury

Suncica Lah*, Carly Black, Michael B. Gascoigne, Chloe Gott, Adrienne Epps, Louise Parry

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Accelerated long-term forgetting (ALF) is characterized by adequate recall after short, but not long delays. ALF is not detected by standardized neuropsychological memory tests. Currently, the prevailing conceptualization of ALF is of a temporal lobe seizure-related phenomenon. Nevertheless, Mayes and colleagues (2003) proposed that ALF may occur when any of the components of the brain network involved in long-term memory formation, or their interaction, is disrupted. This disruption does not have to be caused by temporal lobe seizures for ALF to occur. Here, we investigate this possibility in a group of school-age children who have sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI) (n = 28), as TBI typically disrupts the brain network that is important for long-term memory formation and recall. Healthy control children (n = 62) also participated. Contrary to the dominant conceptualization of ALF being a seizure-related phenomenon, children with TBI showed ALF. Sustaining a severe TBI and diffuse subcortical damage was related to ALF. Individually, 8 of the 13 children with severe TBI presented with ALF. ALF would remain undetected on standardized testing in six of these eight children. One child had the opposite pattern of dissociation, an impaired score on standardized testing, but an average long-term memory score. This is the first study, to our knowledge, to show ALF in patients with TBI, which has remained undiagnosed and untreated in this patient population. Our study also challenges the dominant hypothesis of ALF being a temporal lobe seizure-related phenomenon, and raises a possibility that short-term and long-term memory systems may be independent.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2536-2544
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
    Volume34
    Issue number17
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

    Keywords

    • children
    • memory
    • TBI

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