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Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded from 21 patients with subcortical infarction (mean age, 62.1 years) and 14 normal control subjects (mean age, 62.7 years) as they listened to lists of words or pronounceable non-words. Some words were repeated immediately after initial presentation (lag 0), while others were repeated after five intervening words (lag 5), or after 2 to 4 min (lag 11-77). The subjects were asked to push a button upon hearing the occasional non-words. The Auditory-Verbal Learning Test (AVLT) also was administered to the patients to examine explicit memory. The mean N400 amplitude, appearing between 300 and 800 ms after the stimulus, was smaller in patients with subcortical infarction than in control subjects. The N400 in response to repeated words at lags 0, 5 and 11-77 was attenuated for both the patient and control groups. On the AVLT the total number of recalled words and number of words after interference were significantly decreased in patients relative to controls, while recognition was relatively preserved. The results suggest that lexical processing and retrieval mechanism of explicit memory are disturbed in patients with subcortical infarction, but implicit memory measured by this N400 paradigm is relatively preserved.
PMID: 10407198 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]