Functional activation may be useful as a predictive measure of episodic memory loss in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a recent study found. Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a verbal episodic memory task, lesion load, and volumetric measures of the hippocampus and thalamus to assess the relative contributions to verbal and visual-spatial episodic memory in persons with MS (n=32) and healthy controls (n=16). They found:
- After adjusting for disease duration, immediate recall performance on a visual-spatial episodic memory task was significantly predicted by hippocampal volume.
- Delayed recall on the same task was significantly predicted by volume of the left thalamus.
- For both memory measures, functional activation of the thalamus during encoding was more predictive than that of volume measures.
Koenig KA, Rao SM, Lowe MJ, et al. The role of the thalamus and hippocampus in episodic memory performance in patients with multiple sclerosis. [Published online ahead of print March 7, 2018]. Mult Scler. doi:10.1177/1352458518760716.