Retrograde amnesia: temporal gradient in very long term memory following electroconvulsive therapy

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Science  10 Jan 1975:
Vol. 187, Issue 4171, pp. 77-79
DOI: 10.1126/science.1109228


A newly designed remote memory test has been used to assess the temporal dimension of prolonged retrograde amnesia. Patients given a course of electroconvulsive treatments for relief of depressive illness exhibited a temporal gradient of retrograde amnesia after five treatments. Memories acquired up to about 3 years before treatment were impaired, but memories acquired 4 to 17 yearss before treatment were not affected. The results suggest that the neural substrate of memory gradually changes with the passage of time after learning and that resistance to amnesic treatment can continue to develop for years.