Spotlight on Transient epileptic amnesia

Transient epileptic amnesia has been considered a syndrome of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy characterized by (1) recurrent episodes of isolated memory impairment of epileptic cause (ictal or postictal) while other cognitive functions remain intact; (2) interictal memory disturbances of accelerated long-term forgetting and autobiographical and topographical amnesia; and (3) late age of onset with a mean of 57 years. The duration of episodes of amnesia is usually less than an hour with usual recurrence of around 20 times each year in untreated patients. In addition, brief seizures typical of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy are detected in two thirds of patients. Interictal EEG, particularly when recorded in sleep, shows temporal lobe spikes whereas EEG during attacks of amnesia demonstrates either ictal discharges or postictal features. In most cases of transient epileptic amnesia, no clear cause for the epilepsy is identified though MRI may show hippocampal atrophy or focal structural lesions in the temporal lobes. Transient epileptic amnesia is considered rare though it is frequently underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed as transient global or psychogenic amnesia. Patients with transient epileptic amnesia usually have an excellent prognosis; seizures respond extremely well to monotherapy with small doses of lamotrigine or levetiracetam though interictal memory disturbances may persist.

In this article, Dr. C P Panayiotopoulos of St. Thomas’ Hospital  discusses the clinical manifestations, biological basis, and diagnosis of transient epileptic amnesia.

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Spotlight on Korsakoff syndrome

In this clinical summary, Dr. Alfredo Ardila of Florida International University discusses Korsakoff syndrome, which is marked by remote memory impairment together with characteristic profound anterograde memory deficits. Korsakoff syndrome is directly linked to a deficiency of thiamine. It is most commonly associated with chronic alcohol abuse. Korsakoff syndrome has also been described in the context of a number of other disorders that cause malnutrition or malabsorption. Head traumas with bilateral lesions of the limbic circuit may result in a memory disorder similar to the Korsakoff disease but frequently referred as of “Korsakowian syndrome” or “mental syndrome of Korsakoff.” Amnesia in Korsakoff syndrome could be the expression of damage to an extended brain memory system. An inherited insensitivity to thiamine has been proposed as a risk factor for alcoholism and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Successful treatment is infrequent and memory impairment may remain stable.

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MedLink Neurology authors are always at work to bring you broad and up-to-date coverage of neurology topics. We are pleased to highlight clinical summaries that have been recently added or updated and to introduce the authors who write these authoritative articles. We hope you enjoy these overviews and appreciate the contributions of our more than 450 authors who keep MedLink Neurology the premier information resource for neurologists.

Spotlight on Korsakoff syndrome

In this clinical summary, Dr. Alfredo Ardila of Florida International University discusses Korsakoff syndrome, which is marked by remote memory impairment together with characteristic profound anterograde memory deficits. Korsakoff syndrome is directly linked to a deficiency of thiamine. It is most commonly associated with chronic alcohol abuse. Korsakoff syndrome has also been described in the context of a number of other disorders that cause malnutrition or malabsorption. Head traumas with bilateral lesions of the limbic circuit may result in a memory disorder similar to the Korsakoff disease but frequently referred as of “Korsakowian syndrome” or “mental syndrome of Korsakoff.” Amnesia in Korsakoff syndrome could be the expression of damage to an extended brain memory system. An inherited insensitivity to thiamine has been proposed as a risk factor for alcoholism and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Successful treatment is infrequent and memory impairment may remain stable.

To view the complete clinical summary, click here.

MedLink Neurology authors are always at work to bring you broad and up-to-date coverage of neurology topics. We are pleased to highlight clinical summaries that have been recently added or updated and to introduce the authors who write these authoritative articles. We hope you enjoy these overviews and appreciate the contributions of our more than 450 authors who keep MedLink Neurology the premier information resource for neurologists.

Spotlight on Memory loss

In this clinical summary, Dr. Linda Hershey, Professor of Neurology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and Dr. Calin Prodan, Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, provide an overview of memory loss and its most common presentations in the clinical setting (mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome). The 3 most common pathologic reasons for age-related memory decline are discussed. Risk factors for mild cognitive impairment are reviewed, along with lifestyle changes that have been shown to slow progression from mild cognitive impairment to dementia.

To view the complete clinical summary, click here.

MedLink Neurology authors are always at work to bring you broad and up-to-date coverage of neurology topics. We are pleased to highlight clinical summaries that have been recently added or updated and to introduce the authors who write these authoritative articles. We hope you enjoy these overviews and appreciate the contributions of our more than 450 authors who keep MedLink Neurology the premier information resource for neurologists.