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BACKGROUND - Humans constantly take in vast amounts of information, which must be filtered, flexibly manipulated, and integrated into cohesive relational memories in order to choose relevant behaviors. Relational memory is impaired in chronic schizophrenia, which has been linked to hippocampal dysfunction. It is unclear whether relational memory is impaired in the early stage of psychosis.
METHODS - We studied eye movements during a face-scene pairs task as an indirect measure of relational memory in 89 patients in the early stage of psychosis and 84 healthy control participants. During testing, scenes were overlaid with three equally-familiar faces and participants were asked to recall the matching (i.e. previously-paired) face. During Match trials, one face had been previously paired with the scene. During Non-Match trials, no faces matched the scene. Forced-choice explicit recognition was recorded as a direct measure of relational memory.
RESULTS - Healthy control subjects rapidly (within 250-500 ms) showed preferential viewing of the matching face during Match trials. In contrast, preferential viewing was delayed in patients in the early stage of psychosis. Explicit recognition of the matching face was also impaired in the patient group.
CONCLUSIONS - This study provides novel evidence for a relational memory deficit in the early stage of psychosis. Patients showed deficits in both explicit recognition as well as abnormal eye-movement patterns during memory recall. Eye movements provide a promising avenue for the study of relational memory in psychosis, as they allow for the assessment of rapid, nonverbal memory processes.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Relational memory is impaired in chronic schizophrenia. It is unclear if similar deficits are already present in the early stage of psychosis. We used the Associative Inference Paradigm to test relational memory ability in the early stage of a non-affective psychotic disorder. Eighty-two early stage psychosis patients and 67 healthy control subjects were trained on 3 sets of 30 paired associates: H-F1 (house paired with face), H-F2 (same house paired with new face), F3-F4 (two new faces). Subjects who reached 80% recall accuracy of the paired associates during training were then tested for their ability to recall the previously seen pairs and solve a novel, inferential pairing F1-F2 (faces linked through association to same house). Sixty early psychosis patients (73%) and 67 healthy control subjects (100%) successfully reached the accuracy threshold (80%) during training and were included in the analysis of relational memory. The early stage psychosis patients showed less of an associative inference effect than the healthy controls (pair type by group interaction: F (1,125) = 5.04, p < 0.05). However, the majority of early psychosis patients (52%) displayed intact inferential memory, compared to our prior study which revealed just 16% of chronic schizophrenia patients had intact inferential memory. Patients in the early stage of psychosis show a relational memory deficit, although less pronounced than in chronic schizophrenia. Longitudinal studies are needed to examine the progression of relational memory deficits in schizophrenia and its associations with clinical, functional, and biological measures.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Working memory (WM) is often assessed with serial order tests such as repeating digits backward. In prior dementia research using the Backward Digit Span Test (BDT), only aggregate test performance was examined.
OBJECTIVE - The current research tallied primacy/recency effects, out-of-sequence transposition errors, perseverations, and omissions to assess WM deficits in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
METHODS - Memory clinic patients (n = 66) were classified into three groups: single domain amnestic MCI (aMCI), combined mixed domain/dysexecutive MCI (mixed/dys MCI), and non-MCI where patients did not meet criteria for MCI. Serial order/WM ability was assessed by asking participants to repeat 7 trials of five digits backwards. Serial order position accuracy, transposition errors, perseverations, and omission errors were tallied.
RESULTS - A 3 (group)×5 (serial position) repeated measures ANOVA yielded a significant group×trial interaction. Follow-up analyses found attenuation of the recency effect for mixed/dys MCI patients. Mixed/dys MCI patients scored lower than non-MCI patients for serial position 3 (p < 0.003) serial position 4 (p < 0.002); and lower than both group for serial position 5 (recency; p < 0.002). Mixed/dys MCI patients also produced more transposition errors than both groups (p < 0.010); and more omissions (p < 0.020), and perseverations errors (p < 0.018) than non-MCI patients.
CONCLUSIONS - The attenuation of a recency effect using serial order parameters obtained from the BDT may provide a useful operational definition as well as additional diagnostic information regarding working memory deficits in MCI.
Several prominent theories posit that information about recent experiences lingers in the brain and organizes memories for current experiences, by forming a temporal context that is linked to those memories at encoding. According to these theories, if the thoughts preceding an experience X resemble the thoughts preceding an experience Y, then X and Y should show an elevated probability of being recalled together. We tested this prediction by using multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) of fMRI data to measure neural evidence for lingering processing of preceding stimuli. As predicted, memories encoded with similar lingering thoughts about the category of preceding stimuli were more likely to be recalled together. Our results demonstrate that the "fading embers" of previous stimuli help to organize recall, confirming a key prediction of computational models of episodic memory.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
While much research has focused on understanding how individual stimuli are encoded in episodic memory, less is known about how a series of events is bound into a coherent episode. Cognitive models of episodic memory propose that information about presented stimuli is integrated into a composite representation reflecting one's past experience, allowing events separated in time to become associated. Recent evidence suggests that neural oscillatory activity may be critically involved in this process. To examine how oscillatory activity contributes to binding of information across events, we measured scalp EEG as participants studied categorized lists of people, places, and objects. We assessed their memory for the lists using free recall, allowing us to characterize the temporal and semantic organization of the studied items in memory. Using pattern classification, we identified EEG activity during encoding at a range of frequencies and scalp locations that was sensitive to the category of presented stimuli. In the beta band (16-25Hz) at right posterior electrodes, we observed activity that was also sensitive to the category of recently presented stimuli. This neural activity showed two characteristics consistent with a representation of the recent past: It became stronger when multiple items from the same category were presented in succession, and it contained a fading trace of the previous category after a category shift. When items were separated by an inter-item distraction task, this integrative beta-band activity was disrupted. Distraction also led to decreased semantic organization of the studied materials without affecting their temporal organization; this suggests that distraction disrupts the integration of semantic information over time, preventing encoding of items in terms of the semantic context of earlier items. Our results provide evidence that beta-band activity is involved in maintaining information about recent events, allowing construction of a coherent representation of a temporally extended episode in memory.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PURPOSE - Data about maternal recall accuracy for classifying early pregnancy medication exposure are meager. Nonetheless, studies often rely on recall to evaluate potential impact of pharmaceuticals on the developing fetus.
METHODS - Right from the Start is a community-based pregnancy cohort that enrolled women from North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. A subset of 318 women participated in daily medication diaries initiated before conception (2006-2012). We examined nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as an example of a drug type that is difficult to study due to its intermittent and primarily over-the-counter use as well as its incomplete documentation in medical and pharmaceutical records. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) were assessed as a prescription medication comparator. Maternal recall of NSAID and SSRI use in early pregnancy was examined by comparing diary data (gold standard) to first-trimester interview.
RESULTS - Sensitivity and specificity for recall of NSAID exposure were 78.6% and 62.3%, respectively (kappa statistic: 0.41), with 72.3% agreement for exposure classification. Sensitivity and specificity for recall of SSRI exposure were 77.8% and 99.0%, respectively (kappa statistic: 0.79), with 97.8% agreement.
CONCLUSIONS - Our findings suggest the validity of maternal recall varies with medication type and prospective data collection should be prioritized when studying early pregnancy drug exposures.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The cockroach, Leucophaea maderae, can be trained in an associative olfactory memory task by either classical or operant conditioning. When trained by classical conditioning, memory formation is regulated by a circadian clock, but once the memory is formed, it can be recalled at any circadian time. In contrast, when trained via operant conditioning, animals can learn the task at any circadian phase, but the ability to recall the long-term memory is tied to the phase of training. The optic lobes of the cockroach contain a circadian clock that drives circadian rhythms of locomotor activity, mating behavior, sensitivity of the compound eye to light, and the sensitivity of olfactory receptors in the antennae. To evaluate the role of the optic lobes in regulating learning and memory processes, the authors examined the effects of surgical ablation of the optic lobes on memory formation in classical conditioning and memory recall following operant conditioning. The effect of optic lobe ablation was to "rescue" the deficit in memory acquisition at a time the animals normally cannot learn and "rescue" the animal's ability to recall a memory formed by operant conditioning at a phase where memory was not normally expressed. The results suggested that the optic lobe pacemaker regulates these processes through inhibition at "inappropriate" times of day. As a pharmacological test of this hypothesis, the authors showed that injections of fipronil, an antagonist of GABA and glutamate-activated chloride channels, had the same effects as optic lobe ablation on memory formation and recall. The data suggest that the optic lobes contain the circadian clock(s) that regulate learning and memory processes via inhibition of neural processes in the brain.
© 2015 The Author(s).
Neuroimaging studies of recognition memory have identified distinct patterns of cortical activity associated with two sets of cognitive processes: Recollective processes supporting retrieval of information specifying a probe item's original source are associated with the posterior hippocampus, ventral posterior parietal cortex, and medial pFC. Familiarity processes supporting the correct identification of previously studied probes (in the absence of a recollective response) are associated with activity in anterior medial temporal lobe (MTL) structures including the perirhinal cortex and anterior hippocampus, in addition to lateral prefrontal and dorsal posterior parietal cortex. Here, we address an open question in the cognitive neuroscientific literature: To what extent are these same neurocognitive processes engaged during an internally directed memory search task like free recall? We recorded fMRI activity while participants performed a series of free recall and source recognition trials, and we used a combination of univariate and multivariate analysis techniques to compare neural activation profiles across the two tasks. Univariate analyses showed that posterior MTL regions were commonly associated with recollective processes during source recognition and with free recall responses. Prefrontal and posterior parietal regions were commonly associated with familiarity processes and free recall responses, whereas anterior MTL regions were only associated with familiarity processes during recognition. In contrast with the univariate results, free recall activity patterns characterized using multivariate pattern analysis did not reliably match the neural patterns associated with recollective processes. However, these free recall patterns did reliably match patterns associated with familiarity processes, supporting theories of memory in which common cognitive mechanisms support both item recognition and free recall.
A symptom of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a flat learning profile. Learning slope calculation methods vary, and the optimal method for capturing neuroanatomical changes associated with MCI and early AD pathology is unclear. This study cross-sectionally compared four different learning slope measures from the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (simple slope, regression-based slope, two-slope method, peak slope) to structural neuroimaging markers of early AD neurodegeneration (hippocampal volume, cortical thickness in parahippocampal gyrus, precuneus, and lateral prefrontal cortex) across the cognitive aging spectrum [normal control (NC); (n=198; age=76±5), MCI (n=370; age=75±7), and AD (n=171; age=76±7)] in ADNI. Within diagnostic group, general linear models related slope methods individually to neuroimaging variables, adjusting for age, sex, education, and APOE4 status. Among MCI, better learning performance on simple slope, regression-based slope, and late slope (Trial 2-5) from the two-slope method related to larger parahippocampal thickness (all p-values<.01) and hippocampal volume (p<.01). Better regression-based slope (p<.01) and late slope (p<.01) were related to larger ventrolateral prefrontal cortex in MCI. No significant associations emerged between any slope and neuroimaging variables for NC (p-values ≥.05) or AD (p-values ≥.02). Better learning performances related to larger medial temporal lobe (i.e., hippocampal volume, parahippocampal gyrus thickness) and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex in MCI only. Regression-based and late slope were most highly correlated with neuroimaging markers and explained more variance above and beyond other common memory indices, such as total learning. Simple slope may offer an acceptable alternative given its ease of calculation.
INTRODUCTION - An influential theory of schizophrenic deficits in executive function suggests that patients have difficulty maintaining and utilising an internal contextual representation, whose function is to ensure that stimuli are processed in a task-appropriate manner. In basic research on episodic memory, retrieved-context theories propose that an internal contextual representation is critically involved in memory search, facilitating the retrieval of task-appropriate memories. This contextual machinery is thought to give rise to temporal organisation during free recall: the tendency for successive recall responses to correspond to items from nearby positions on the study list. If patients with schizophrenia have a generalised contextual deficit, then this leads to the prediction that these patients will exhibit reduced temporal organisation in free recall.
METHODS - Using a combination of classic and recently developed organisational measures, we characterised recall organisation in 75 patients with schizophrenia and 72 nondisordered control participants performing a multi-trial free-recall task.
RESULTS - Patients with schizophrenia showed diminished temporal organisation, as well as diminished subjective organisation of their recall sequences relative to control participants. The two groups showed similar amounts of semantic organisation during recall.
CONCLUSIONS - The observation of reduced temporal organisation in the patient group is consistent with the proposal that the memory deficit in schizophrenia can be characterised as a deficit in contextual processing.