Recent studies have indicated that, in the monkey, the rhinal cortex (consisting of the entorhinal and perirhinal cortices) is more important to visual recognition memory than the hippocampus or amygdala. The present study investigated the role of the entorhinal cortex in humans using memory scores from surgical epilepsy patients classified according to their mesial temporal lobe pathology. The temporal lobe removals included 4-5 cm of neocortex, amygdala, rhinal cortex and 2-3 cm of the hippocampus and parahippocampal gyms. Compared to autopsied control subjects, all of the patients showed significant gliosis in the amygdala, but they differed as to whether or not there were entorhinal and/or hippocampal abnormalities. Both preoperatively and one or more years postoperatively, the patients performed tests of verbal recall (Wechsler Memory Scale Logical Memory), visual recall (Rey Figure), verbal recognition and visual recognition (Warrington Recognition Memory Test: Words and Faces, respectively). Preoperatively, patients with hippocampal pathology showed deficits in visual recall. Postoperatively, a significant drop in verbal and visual recall was seen only for patients who lost intact hippocampal tissue, irrespective of the condition of the excised entorhinal cortex. Together, the results argue that the hippocampus is more important than the entorhinal cortex for the recall of newly learned information.
- Mesial temporal sclerosis
- Temporal lobectomy